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Flora
Jan 4, 2021  •  13 min

Electric Outboard Motors: All You Need to Know (Best Picks in 2021)

Electric outboard motors have got a lot of attention these days: It is silent, clean, and maintenance-free with NO fuel or exhaust smells.

With the hype of high power electric outboard motors, it seems that the electric outboard motors now offer a viable alternative to combustion motors, making it a great option for many boats including kayaks, dinghies, canoe, inflatables, and sailboats.

But the electric outboard price might again put you in a dilemma.

Is the electric outboard motor worth the upfront investment? What’s the range and runtime of electric outboards? What’s the most powerful electric outboard motor available and affordable today?

In this post, we are going to walk through all information about the electric outboard motors for boats and help you select the best electric outboard that fits your needs.

Table of content:

Editor’s Note: Electric outboard motors as well as other electric vehicles are measured by W (watts) instead of hp (horsepower). So if you are looking for a 3 HP electric outboard motor, it should be a 1000 W outboard that has an equivalent power of a 3 HP petrol motor.

In order to help you better understand the power range of electric outboard motors especially for those who are new to the electric motors, we will just use HP to describe the power of electric outboards in this post.

Electric Outboard Motors Are Not Trolling Motors

Before we get into depth, let’s make it clear that here we are talking about electric outboard motors. Not trolling motors or electric start combustion outboards.

Unlike the trolling motors (measured in static thrust) that can only go at slow trolling speed, true electric outboard motors can provide much higher power: They are designed to be used as the primary power source.

Even small electric outboards, for example, the popular 3hp electric outboard motor, would be enough to power boats weighing up to 1.5 tons including dinghy boats, inflatables, and small sailboats, at a speed of 5 knots.

If you have no idea which one to choose between electric outboard motor and trolling motor (like the Minn Kota motors), check out our previous post for a detailed comparison.

Electric Outboard Motor for Boat: What You Need to Know

The electric outboard motor is definitely appealing but the flooded information on the Internet could be overwhelming and get you lost especially if you are new to electric boating.

Here I have rounded up the top 5 frequently asked questions (with quick answers) so that you can easily decide whether to get an electric outboard motor for your boat.

Electric Outboard Motor Runtime & Range

Curious to know what sort of battery life and range the electric outboard motors get in a marine environment. “I don’t want to run out of charge on the water.”

This is the proverbial piece of string question.

The electric outboard motor runtime and range depend on how fast you run it, how heavy the boat is, how much tide is running in which direction, the battery charge state, the temperature… and more factors still.

Generally speaking, with the Spirit 1.0 Plus 3 hp electric outboard at half power you should get 16 miles.

Most electric boat motors will allow you to adjust it to a slower speed for extra range and runtime. Plus you can always read the battery level/estimated range left on the screen, so you’ll never get stuck.

Here is a table that shows the estimated range and runtime of the 6 hp electric outboard at different speed levels with a single charge of one battery.

Electric Outboard Motors Range, Runtime & Speed

Power(W)Speed(mph)Runtime (hh:mm)Range (mile)
500418:0072
100059:0045
20006.74:3030.2
300083:0024
400011.52:1525.9
500013.51:5024.7
6000151:3022.5

*Data collected from ePropulsion Navy 6.0 electric outboard motor on a 12 ft aluminum boat (with exclusive ePropulsion E175 battery that’s 8690 Wh).

Check the full test report of the Navy 6.0 electric outboard motor.

Electric Outboard Motor Speed

So how fast are electric boat motors?

The max speed of electric outboard motors varies greatly between different boats and working environments. The higher power, the higher speed.

Below you will find a selection of real-world test reports using the ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 electric outboard motor in a selection of different styles of the boat.

Boat TypeMax speed (mph)Full Test Report
West Marine RU-250 Roll-Up Inflatable Boat4.5Report #1
RS 21 Sailboat5.5Report #2
Csónaképítő e.BALIN Túra6.2Report #3
Liteboat LiteXP6.1Report #4

Want a higher power electric outboard to keep your boat at a higher planing speed?

It’s still a great challenge for today’s technology. Just as I mentioned above, the electric outboard motors need a large battery capacity to keep a high speed.

The amount of battery power needed to move a boat is like 10x more than a motor vehicle.

Let’s say you can go at 5 knots with a 10 hp electric outboard motor. And if you want to speed up to 15 knots, you will probably need a 100 hp electric outboard, and that requires much more energy and battery than we can imagine and will cost a fortune.

That’s why the electric outboard motors under 20hp (3hp/4hp/5hp/10hp motors) are still the mainstream in the consumer market.

Electric Outboard Motor Price

Electric outboards are interesting but I don’t understand why they cost more than a petrol outboard.

Think about the challenges of battery size vs range in electric outboard motors:

The electric outboard boat motor needs a large battery capacity especially if you are planning for a long trip.

Given that the batteries have lower energy density compared to petrol and a boat is around 5 to 10 times less efficient in energy economy compared to a similar weight car, you’ll need a lot of energy (i.e. batteries) stored on the electric outboard motor to push the boat along.

And the batteries are expensive.

Another reason is that the economies of scale have not kicked in yet within the industry although the electric outboard motors are getting more and more popular these days.

An exception:

Actually the 3 hp electric outboard motor outperforms the petrol outboard on price (and virtually any functionality you could care about for a boat outboard) if you take the maintenance fee ($180/year, if you dont service it you lose warranty) and fuel/electricity cost into account.

Take ePropulsion Spirit Plus, the 3 hp electric outboard motor with a built-in battery, for example:

That’s to say, with electric outboard motor Spirit 1.0 Plus, it’s only 3 years before the saving start. And as the service time increases, you could even save more.

So actually the electric outboard motors are a cost-effective option within a few years of use.

Notice: You might be in the market of the used electric outboard motor and looking for one during special sales or on the deals website. But it is not recommended to go this way as those electric outboard motors for sale might not guarantee your full warranty.

Electric Outboard Motor Battery Charging

The good news is that most electric outboard motors can be fully charged overnight. So it’s convenient and won’t impede your schedule.

Some reputable electric outboard motor manufacturers like ePropulsion also feature quick charging that can cut down the charging time in half.

Solar charging is also possible, you can discharge and charge the battery at the same time meaning you can extend the range of your boat on sunny days

Extra tip: If you are a sailing enthusiast, be sure to check out the electric outboard motors that come with hydrogeneration, like the ePropulsion Evo Series. It takes advantage of the wind energy to charge its batteries while sailing, so you can have extra power for an extended range of sailing or charging other facilities on board.

Electric Outboard Motor Weight

The electric outboard motor and battery weight could be a concern, especially for the elderly. Boating is enjoyable, but lugging the heavy batteries over boggy ground to get to a boat in remote areas is definitely not tempting.

If you are looking for a portable electric outboard motor, consider the one with a built-in battery. The electric outboard motor with battery is easy to transport and could save you a lot of trouble.

Some electric outboard motor batteries can even float in the water so there is no need to worry about dropping it while installing the outboard.

Looking for a higher power electric outboard motor?

It will need standalone batteries to power the electric outboard. If you are going this way, we’d recommend looking at the E-Series LiFePO4 battery range.

The E-series electric outboard motor batteries offer a modular system from 2kWh to 144kWh. They are very affordable marine-grade batteries with a long lifespan.

Reasons to Go for Electric Outboard Motors

Are electric outboard motors any good?

The benefit of electric outboard motors is obvious to anglers and almost overwhelming to those who are looking for a premium boating experience.

Check out the top 4 reasons why hundreds of thousands of people go for electric outboards.

  • Silent. You will hear virtually nothing on board. There will be no disturbing noise to spook the fish. It’s only you and nature.
  • Clean. There will be no greasy dirt to stain your hands, clothes, deck, and trunk during use and transportation if you get an electric outboard motor for the boat.
  • Less Maintenance. Thanks to direct-drive technology, the electric outboard motor has less moving parts, reducing the time and cost of regular maintenance.
  • Exhaust-free. There are no fuel or exhaust smells, so it protects the health of you and the families.

With more regions and lakes banning the use of combustion motors, electric outboard motors have become the only option for some anglers and boating enthusiasts. It is a new trend and could be the future of boating.

Electric outboard motors could also work as a secondary engine (kicker, auxiliary engine). A lot of users also find it helpful in emergencies if the main motor breaks.

Best Electric Outboard Motors in 2021

Having been toying with buying an electric outboard motor for a while but had no idea which outboard motor is the most reliable? What’s the best electric outboard motor?

Here are top 2 recommendations trusted by dozens of thousands of users worldwide.

#1. 3 HP Electric Outboard Motor: ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus

If you are looking for a reliable, affordable, and portable electric outboard motor for the dinghy, inflatable and fishing boats, sailboats, and tenders, the Spirit 1.0 Plus is your best choice.

This electric outboard motor with a built-in battery provides 3 hp equivalent horsepower and can go up to 22 miles at 4.5 mph, or keep running all day long at trolling speed.

Highlights:

  • Direct-drive motor, maintenance-free
  • 1276Wh capacity for 4-hour economical speed runtime
  • Floating battery, you’ll never lose it if it drops into the water
  • 180W solar charging for extra charging
  • Lightweight (42lbs including the battery)
  • Folding tiller, easy to pack and carry the motor
  • Digital display, you’ll always know the battery level, remaining runtime, etc
  • 3 hours full recharge with quick charger
  • Designed for freshwater and saltwater

As an electric outboard motor for saltwater and freshwater, the Spirit is durable and efficient to be used in the lake, marine, and simply any kind of environment.

Check out how the Spirit performs in the water on this genuine electric outboard motor review:

For advanced hydrogeneration capacity, check out the Spirit 1.0 Evo. You will love it on sailing.

#2. 9.9 HP Electric Outboard Motor: ePropulsion Navy 6.0

If you want a higher power electric outboard motor for dinghies, aluminum fishing boats, daysailers, and cruising sailboats, be sure to check out the ePropulsion Navy 6.0 outboard.

With this 6kw 9.9 (10) HP electric outboard motor, you can easily go 40 miles within one charge, or go fishing all day at trolling speed.

Highlights:

  • Customized E-Series electric outboard motor batteries
  • Compatible with 3rd party battery
  • Wireless control
  • The digital display informs you of the real-time operation status
  • Kill stop switch to keep you safe on board
  • Propeller collision emergency stop
  • Designed for freshwater and saltwater

Check out what users have to say about the Navy 6.0 electric outboard motor:

Wanna have a free test ride with these two recommended electric outboard motors? Fill out this form and we’ll get in touch shortly.

Hottest FAQs About Electric Outboard Motors

A single post could not answer all questions about the electric outboards. We’ve picked out the most frequently asked ones below with short answers.

If you have any further confusion about the electric outboard motors, leave them in the comment and we’ll get back to you asap and add yours to the list.

#1. How rock proof are electric outboards?

The electric outboard motor blade is usually made of solid materials and ePropulsion motors feature propeller collision emergency stop

However, the rock or oyster bed could still possibly cause damage to the motor. If you are worried, you can always protect the outboard with some propeller guard.

#2. What is the most powerful electric outboard motor?

The most powerful electric outboard motor by far is 80 hp rated, and it is mostly for commercial use due to the high initial cost.

#3. What size electric outboard do I need?

To get the right size electric outboard motor, you need to consider the boat size (weight/length), boatload, your desired speed, and the boating environment, etc.

Generally speaking, a 1kw3hp electric outboard motor is enough to provide a satisfying speed and range for tenders, dinghies, and daysailers up to 1.5 tons, and 6kw10 hp electric outboard motor is for RIBs, fishing boats, and cruising sailboats up to 6 tons.

Electric Outboard Motor for Boat: Final Thoughts

With the unbeatable advantages like quietness, clean, exhaust-free, and the lower overall cost with a few years of use, electric outboard motors are gaining more popularity over time.

You will see more and more electric outboard motors for sailboats, kayak, canoe, and dinghy boats on sale and in use for the upcoming years, especially with the push of the government.

If you’re interested but not sure what type and size of electric outboard motor suits you best, leave us a message on the comments and we’ll try our best to help you find the best pick.

If you are looking for an electric outboard motor in the UK, US, NZ, Canada, Australia, or any other regions worldwide, and want a quick delivery, you may check out the local dealers and order directly from them with solid support if there is an issue coming up.

49 Comments
delanovr
November 27, 2020

What recommendations can you make to lock the motor, especially the battery since it’s easy to remove when docked?

Thanks

Flora
April 1, 2021

Hi delanovr, you can use a motor lock to secure the outboard. As for the battery, it’s lightweight making it easy to uninstall and remove when not in use.

A chain and padlock through battery handle and around the lock would also help to secure both. Feel free to let me know if you have any further question.

Bob
August 11, 2021

I have a 16′ pontoon (Tahoe) with Minnkota e-drive. 4-4.5 mph. Would like a bit more speed. 7-8 mph. What would you suggest?

Flora
September 3, 2021

Hi Bob, you may take a look at the Navy 6.0 Evo for your application https://www.epropulsion.com/navy/

dsrtcrttr
December 7, 2020

What electric motor would be best for a 12′ Aluminum boat?

Flora
April 1, 2021

Hello dsrtcrttr, it’s actually depends on many factors including your desired speed, boat load (gear and passengers), and the boating environment. Could you offer more details about your application of the aluminum boat?

You may also check out our test data with similar sized aluminum boat and see if the performance meets your needs on this page https://www.epropulsion.com/performance-bulletins

Hope the information helps!

fsr.aztec
December 30, 2020

I have a 10 foot Bass buster or a 2 person Pelican . Do have a trolling motor . Question is what size of electric outboard motor do I need ? Have read your information on this site but still need help . New on boat . Would like a 3.5 electric but still need your advice . Will appreciate all the help you can give me Thank you ,

Fermin R.

Flora
April 1, 2021

Hello Fermin, the 3 hp Spirit 1.0 Plus is a great choice for your situation. Check out our test date with Spirit motor on a smiliar boat here:

https://0220afca-6e42-4f45-a99f0362b314126d.filesusr.com/ugd/77b59c_c8de34d4bc7e4077b1865462e7a614d7.pdf

Please feel free to let me know if you have any further question

Neil
March 26, 2021

I have a 16 ft 4 person skiff to cruise around the river. Will the 3 hp electric motor push us for 4 hours of cruising? The whole river is “slow no wake”

Flora
March 30, 2021

Hi Neil, the actual running time is largely depend on your speed requirement and the boat load. Could you provide more information on that?

According to our test, our 3hp electric motor Spirit 1.0 can run for 4 hours at 4.4mph on a 14ft boat. And if you reduce the speed to 3.5mph, it can last for 8 hours.

Hope the information helps!

JohnGilligan
March 26, 2021

I have a 14’ speed type boat with 50hp but was thinking electric for emergency back up?

Flora
March 30, 2021

Hi John, yes, the electric outboard can be great backup for your speed boat.

Corie Kretschman
April 1, 2021

Happy new year!!!

Tom
April 29, 2021

could i use a small gas generator with a convertor to 12 v ?

Flora
April 30, 2021

Hi Tom, you may use our Spirit 12 V charger ( https://www.epropulsion.com/product-page/spirit-1-0-dc-charger-12v-24v/ ) to charge the Spirit battery directly from 12 v power source.

Brant Lydecker
May 5, 2021

The bigger the wave, the more support you need from your beginner surfboard. Be sure to check out the trucks to see if you want a set that has wider and deeper “tubes” for the “wave” you’re planning on riding.

Barb Ludins
May 12, 2021

I have a 13′ Saturn kaboat (inflatable). Is the outboard or pod option better for us? The boat can hold about 900 lbs and we take up 550 of that.

Flora
May 13, 2021

Hi Barb, it would be better to use an outboard for inflatable boats as it’s easier to install and doesn’t require drilling a hole on the boat. Feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions.

paul
May 15, 2021

Hi – I’ve got a 2500pound (1.25t) multihull sailboat. Don’t have a lot of room and want to keep the weight down. Which outboard would you recomend?
Thanks!

Flora
May 17, 2021

The ePropulsion Pod Drive Series ( https://www.epropulsion.com/pod-drive/ ) is a better fit for you since it is designed for space-saving applications.

As for the horsepower recommendation, if you are using it as auxiliary power source like entering and existing a marina, the 1 kw Pod Drive 3.0 would be enough for you. And if you are looking for a more powerful motor, check out the 3 kw Pod Drive 6.0 Evo.

Hope the information helps and feel free to let me know if you have any furthur questions 🙂

Crispy
May 16, 2021

I have read that the ESpirit 1.0 can be charged from a 12v source or solar panels. I cannot find any technical details about the 12V DC/solar control charger. Does the charger run off mains voltage supply? I have two 240v/12v 20A multistage chargers. Is it possible to charge the motor from those chargers connected in parallel (i.e. 40A maximum charge rate)? Do I also need the Eprop charger?

Flora
May 19, 2021

Hi Crispy, you will need the ePropulsion 12V charger due to the different connector and configured charging parameters.

Crispy
May 23, 2021

I have 3 x 100W solar panels producing 57V. Does the charger also run off solar input at 57V?

Flora
May 24, 2021

Hi Crispy, the input voltage of solar panel should be ≤ 35V for the Spirit solar charger controller.

For more information about the ePropulsion solar charging, you can check out our ePropulsion Solar Charger Manual that’s available for download at our download center.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

Voland
August 29, 2021

I got wilderness atak 140. I make custom e motor and battery for it from cheap 360Wt trolling motor.
Now i got about 5knots speed at 13V.
Wanna chage it to get at least 8knots at full speed and need very low speed for fishing about 0.2knots. have u any modofications for intalling motor on kayaks?

Jack
May 16, 2021

Need electric outboard shot shaft with peddle control or rote

Flora
August 17, 2021

Hi Jack, did you mean the short shaft outboard with peddle or remote control? If yes, I would like to recommende the Spirit 1.0 Evo Remote which can be controlled remotely with a top mount or side mount control and allows for helm steering. It couldn’t be easier 🙂 Please feel free to let me know if you have further questions.

Jack
May 16, 2021

Ment short shaft ….10 ft boat with steering wheel

Flora
May 19, 2021

Hi Jack, you may want to check out the Spirit 1.0 Remote short shaft version. It has 24.6 inches short shaft length and allows remote helm steering. For more information, please visit https://www.epropulsion.com/spirit-evo/

john
May 29, 2021

How many charge cycles can the battery take before it starts to lose capacity? What is the battery chemistry? What safety features are incorporated? Is it safe to use in hot climates (ex: the Mediterranean in Summer)?

Flora
June 3, 2021

For the ePropulsion Spirit Evo model, the cycle life of its Lithium-Polymer type of battery is ≥500 cycles (80% of Rated Capacity), and it’s recommended to be used at temperatures under 40 ℃. You may find more information on the user manual at our download center https://www.epropulsion.com/download/

John
May 29, 2021

Is it possible to have an idea of the prices of the various models please? In my country the “closest dealer” is a yacht-focused business and since I only have a small wooden boat I would prefer to have an idea of the price so I can at least check if the dealer has applied a fair mark-up. I have a small (but heavy) 14 foot wooden (plywood) boat that does not plane since it is based on a sailing boat design (with a small keel and a transom that leans back but has a place to mount the motor perpendicular to the sea). My main interest would therefore be the 3HP equivalent model. Thanks.

Flora
August 17, 2021

Hello John, may I know where you are located please?

Lee
June 22, 2021

I have a 40’ power boat that I use for trolling for salmon. It’s a 30,000 lb twin diesel boat. The problem is it trolls too fast even with one engine and I have an inflatable boat on the swim grid that takes up space. I was wondering if I used an electric outboard to move my boat 2-3mph would be excellent. I have large battery capacity and generator if needed.
Are the electric outboards as heavy as gas powered? Compact?
Thx

Flora
June 23, 2021

Hi Lee, the 9.9HP Navy 6.0 should be able to move your boat at desired speed. However there are many other factors come into play that may affect its performances. You may fill up this form and schedule a test ride with your local dealer to see whether it can satisfy your needs: https://epropulsion.typeform.com/to/cpDJAn Thanks!

Donner Grigsby
August 1, 2021

Hello,

Are there solar/wind charger options for the Navy 3.0/6.0? I see that it is mentioned on the Spirit (keenly interested).

Kindest regards,

Donner

Flora
August 17, 2021

Hi Donner, it depends on the batteries you are using together with the Navy 3.0/6.0. The ePropulsion E-Series battery can be charged with 3rd party solar panels. And the new Navy Evo models allow hydrogeneration.

To charge the ePropulsion E-Series Battery with only 3rd party solar panels, users need to set the solar charger float voltage to 57.6V. Meanwhile, the solar charger maximum discharge current needs to be less than 20A/40A/75A for the E40/E80/E175 battery collectively. Otherwise, the E-Series Battery would not be charged.

For more information about hydrogeneration and solar charging, you may visit our FAQ center https://www.epropulsion.com/support-center/

Achilleas costa
August 15, 2021

Hi i have a 21feet fast cruiser boat, with no engine,and wondering,if i can use the navy 6,as my very main propulsion.Will it be strong enough to move my boat happily ??Thanks

Achilleas costa
August 15, 2021

Will the navy 6 kw 10hp,move my 21feet fast hull power boat, their is no engines inside, Will like to use the navy 6 as my very MAIN PROPULSION.THANKS

Achilleas costa
August 15, 2021

Hi i have a 21feet fast cruiser boat, with no engine,and wondering,if i can use the navy 6,as my very main propulsion.Will it be strong enough to move my boat happily ??Thanks

Flora
August 17, 2021

Hi Achilleas, may I know what speed you are looking for with the Navy 6.0?

Craig
September 3, 2021

Hi have a 26ft 1800kg racing sail boat only sail on a large lake so no tides or big waves I was wondering if the 3hp would suffice in just getting us out of the marina with a speed limit of 3kts with a run time of about 40mins .

Flora
September 9, 2021

Hi, 3HP can only pushes boats up to 1.5 metric tonnes… we would recommend a 6HP like Navy 3.0 Evo.

Rich
September 3, 2021

I have a Stealth Stalker 10 , 10’ long &78#, that I would like to use in the San Pablo Bay which has winds and tides. The boat can use up to 4.5 hp. Any plans for an electric that size in the near future? Do you think the Spirit 1.0 would push this boat in the tides well enough? I read about the solar, but can you use an additional wet cell battery as a backup? Thanks.

Flora
September 9, 2021

Hi, the static thrust of the Spirit 1.0 is 316 N / 71 lbs, which is sufficient for pushing the Stealth Stalker 10 in the tides. However, we recommend ePropulsion brand dry cells batteries to have smooth and accurate access to the battery status.

Rick Z
September 7, 2021

Great Article! Have a question…I am considering buying an Elco 14 long shaft to put on my 18 ft pontoon boat. Just want to putt around a small lake, Elco says I need to wire 4 Deep cycle batteries in series to produce th required 48 volts to power the motor. They sell deep cycle batteries but they are very expensive. Can you use just regular old marine deep cycle batteries in series or do you have to use the special expensive ones?

Thanks,

Rick

Flora
September 9, 2021

Hi, for selecting the battery please refer to the user manual on page 12. https://www.epropulsion.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/NAVY-Evo-User-Manual-V1.2.pdf

Mike Miller
September 10, 2021

I have a Com Pac 19 sailboat with a 6HP Mercury long shaft that I am going to replace. I’m thinking of an electric outboard. The boat weighs 2,000 pounds and will be used on an inland central Florida lake. I would primarily use the motor to get in and out of the marina. If the wind dies down I might need it to power me back 6 to 10 miles at most. What kind of motor would you recommend?

Flora
September 10, 2021

Hi, Spirit 1.0 Evo can pushes boats up to 1.5 metric tonnes, which would be alright for going in and out of the marina. While the operating range widely depends on the speed and the battery capacity, so we recommend a bigger battery like E40 for the a long-range. Here are the references https://www.epropulsion.com/performance-bulletins/

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