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Electric propulsion and conversion questions


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6 hours ago, CarpeDiem said:

A second battery retails for around $1600.  The 1103c batteries are ~35ah Lithium Manganese, so at $1600 it's expensive for what it is. 

So the motor is expensive no matter how you look at it.  And adding that too a non electric ready cruising boat you have the added expense of charging, presumably overnight so your dinghy is ready for use the following day.

My Yamaha 3hp 2-stroke cost $1150 in 2016.  Since then it's had exactly zero $ spent on servicing and maybe $200 on fuel, oil and carbon credits if that. 

I can't find any numbers on the break even usage when compared to petrol. It simply doesn't stack up for me. I wish it did, I would love to make electric work for me financially or even be closer than it currently is.  But $3000 is still a lot of money. 

Either the price has to come down or regulation and fuel levies need to come into effect to drive adoption. 

All that said there are some cheaper options out there than the Torqeedo. Especially so in the DIY space. I have worked out that I could get into a 85lbs thrust motor with a 40ah lithium battery pack for around $2000.  If this petrol outboard of mine ever packs it in... 

If it is in daily use then an electric motor can break even in a year and then you're saving money compared to a petrol or diesel.

If you're not using your boat regularly then it will take longer. It's not very sustainable to have boats sitting around not being used, better to join a boat share, hire or charter, that way the electric motor will be fully utilised and can pay for itself in a year on the fuel and maintenance savings.

Diesel and petrol need to be phased out in the next ten years so you can expect some serious fuel tax increases and hopefully we'll get free electric charging points like we are seeing for cars, some stick and some carrot.

Two stroke outboards are already banned in almost every developed country, it's a mystery why they are still allowed in NZ but it can't continue for long. It's madness to buy a new two stroke when it could be scrap metal next year. One two stroke outboard produces more emissions than 100 modern cars with catalytic converters and such!

It'll be a bit longer before four strokes are banned but if you don't use it that often then you'll probably have to scrap it when still has very few hours on it.

Don't get obsessed with Torqeedo, they are great motors especially if weight is your main concern but also look at the Combi H-Thruster and E-thruster, commercial grade products, all metal, user serviceable, bulletproof and highly refined.

For a budget priced option there's also the Ruban Bleu ECO pod. We don't have this in a clamp-on version yet, it's mainly designed to replace a rudder but it can be adapted on an outboard bracket, as we have done on our mini catamarans. This is the same kind of solid alloy and stainless build quality as the Combi but it utilises a brushed motor to keep the price down. It's maintenance free for 1000 hours so most leisure users will never need to change the brushes.

Avoid the cheap rubbish and DIY - it seems simple to stick a motor on top of a two stroke leg but there are reasons none of the major, proven outboard designs do anything like that. Sooner or later water will get into an air cooled outboard motor and kill it. If you go with water cooling then you need an impeller and you need to flush it, all that stuff you hated about you petrol outboard and it gets complicated. Plus you lose a lot of efficiency in the gears compared to direct drive. Worst of all, it will make a horrible whine. Underwater motors are silent (except the older Torqeedo designs which have planetary gears - direct drive is silent).

 

 

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44 minutes ago, waikiore said:

SYO some props are controllable pitch -or like mine have two different pitch settings, not the Autoprop which sets itself -not ideal in a big and bouncy sea, check out Torqeedo pricing in the UK for an indication in a competitive market where it really lies against other small (four stroke) outboards. 

True controllable pitch props are popular on Norwegian workboats and big ships, not seen many outside Scandinavia. Nice things though. It's a completely different way of driving a boat, controlling your speed and often even fwd/reverse with the prop pitch while leaving the engine running at a steady speed. Too big, too expensive and too complicated for most yachts.

Our Torqeedo pricing is the best in NZ and we can give a little bit more off if you pay by bank transfer but our margins are pretty tight. Unfortunately Torqeedo pricing in NZ is high due to a long, complicated supply chain, we are a dealer at the end of the chain and can't source direct from Germany.

We are the distributor for our other brands, not just a dealer. Those are imported directly from the manufacturer so we can give you the same prices you'd get in Europe (plus the shipping cost). Combi motors are 100% made in the Netherlands (except genuine Curtis motor controllers which they import. Motors are sometimes built to order so there can be a waiting time.

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26 minutes ago, syohana said:

It's not very sustainable to have boats sitting around not being used, better to join a boat share, hire or charter, that way the electric motor will... 

We're talking about a dinghy right? I am not aware of any dinghy electric outboard share services? Although that would be cool...

Fwiw we get out every week of the year, after two years the Engine has a massive 125hrs on it and almost 40 hrs of that is from deliveries with no wind 6hrs is from essential charging of batteries during multiday races. 

26 minutes ago, syohana said:

Two stroke outboards are already banned in almost every developed country, it's a mystery why they are still allowed in NZ but it can't continue for long. It's madness to buy a new two stroke when it could be scrap metal next year. One two stroke outboard produces more emissions than 100 modern cars with catalytic converters and such!

I am not aware of any countries that have completely banned 2 stroke use? Interested to hear which have? 

I know that Sweden tried to do it a year ago, but there was an uproar at the cost to replace 1million perfectly functional outboards and I am pretty sure it never went ahead?

Many countries have banned the sale of brand new 2 stroke outboards. In fact l will get pedantic here, they have banned the sale of outboards that don't meet specific emission standards.

NZ is definitely behind on the new sales ban. I expect us to follow Australia when we finally do it. 

29 minutes ago, syohana said:

For a budget priced option there's also the Ruban Bleu ECO pod.

We have a different idea of "budget" :)

A friend of mine has one of these he is extremely happy with it. At $420 he's gotten his monies worth and then some. He keeps expecting it to pack up. Admittedly it wouldn't be my choice for a long term overseas cruise, would definitely want something like your more expensive products with a proper track record and international support. 

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We're talking about a dinghy right? I am not aware of any dinghy electric outboard share services? Although that would be cool...

I was talking about a tender so I assumed that it would come in the package with a shared yacht. Smaller yachts can use the same outboard on the dinghy and the yacht. It might be a nice idea for clubs with big mooring fields like PYBC or Weiti to have a pool of outboards for their members.

5 hours ago, CarpeDiem said:

 

I am not aware of any countries that have completely banned 2 stroke use? Interested to hear which have? 

I know that Sweden tried to do it a year ago, but there was an uproar at the cost to replace 1million perfectly functional outboards and I am pretty sure it never went ahead?

Many countries have banned the sale of brand new 2 stroke outboards. In fact l will get pedantic here, they have banned the sale of outboards that don't meet specific emission standards.

NZ is definitely behind on the new sales ban. I expect us to follow Australia when we finally do it. 

Two stroke sales were banned nearly 15 years ago in Europe. They don't need to ban using them because there are hardly any of them left to use. Nearly all the remaining petrol motors are four stroke and the EU should soon be legislating to phase out four stroke as well.

They are banned from use in large areas of Europe on a regional basis not national. Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland all have large areas where either two stroke only (eg. on the Bodensee) or more often ALL internal combustion engines are banned and have been for a long time. That's why all the major electric boat motor manufacturers are based in those countries, the market there is huge.  There are hundreds of thousands of electric boats there already, NZ is very late to the party.

NZ has left it too late to eliminate two stroke by banning sales. In order to meet international treaty obligations on emissions targets the only option for NZ will be a ban on using them, it's too late now for a sales ban to work because there are just too many in circulation. I expect this will be incremental with local and then regional bans first, I would expect them to be banned on lakes and rivers very soon.

Lots of regional bans on use in North America too. Lots of electric motors selling over there to guys like these: 

 

Quote

We have a different idea of "budget" :)

A friend of mine has one of these he is extremely happy with it. At $420 he's gotten his monies worth and then some. He keeps expecting it to pack up. Admittedly it wouldn't be my choice for a long term overseas cruise, would definitely want something like your more expensive products with a proper track record and international support. 

That's a trolling motor not a real outboard, it's designed for a very different purpose. You might get away with it if your mooring is in a very sheltered location, close to the landing.

There's nothing sustainable about buying a disposable toy motor and replacing it frequently. The carbon emissions from manufacturing replacement motors would exceed the savings from running it. To be truly sustainable, a motor needs to be designed to last decades of daily use. The price tag may look steep but the lifetime cost is far lower than any other option, not just to your wallet but also to the environment.

Torqeedo has just launched a new lower priced option called the Travel 603, it's a smaller version of the 1103 best suited to small dinghies and short trips. The price tag will be a lot more affordable but it's a real propulsion outboard not a trolling motor. We don't know the NZ RRP yet but I expect the first batch will probably be sold out long before they even arrive, mainly for yacht tenders.

 

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9 hours ago, syohana said:

To be truly sustainable, a motor needs to be designed to last decades of daily use.

So given the Torqeedo's relatively short warranty period, and the no commercial use restriction, I am guessing we're a way off seeing motors that will last decades of daily use?

It doesn't give me any faith in the technology when the manufacturer sets the warranty period at 12 months. 

Do you think we're likely to see 10 year motor warranties (subject to any servicing requirements) in the near future? (I realise batteries will always have short warranty periods). But if the motors are designed to last decades of daily use then the warranty needs to reflect that. 

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Selling by trashing the competition and not on the merits of the product you're trying to sell tends to happen for a reason. A big one being the competition is genuine competition for very good valid reason/s.

Having read this thread and owning 11 outboards (a life of acquisitions and what comes with them but zero disposals) I am having serious issues trying to line up what's being said in this thread with my real life experiance, in fact I just can't.

Sell the products on their own merits. If those merits are as good as the claims then the products will sell themselves.

Just sayin.......

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Yep, not much info in some of these posts that relates to privately owned yachts, I’ve tried really hard, with a pretty open mind on budget, and can’t make electric drives seem viable for Bad Kitty.

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It all comes back to your individual attitude.  Someone asked about motoring from the Bay back to Auckland.  Thats something I would never want to do. 

Figure out what you can live with and if you cant make it work , so be it.

I could live with even less than 100 mile range, maybe 75. I already motor at about 60% of hull speed. My big issues are the watermaker and recharging.

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7 hours ago, CarpeDiem said:

So given the Torqeedo's relatively short warranty period, and the no commercial use restriction, I am guessing we're a way off seeing motors that will last decades of daily use?

It doesn't give me any faith in the technology when the manufacturer sets the warranty period at 12 months. 

Do you think we're likely to see 10 year motor warranties (subject to any servicing requirements) in the near future? (I realise batteries will always have short warranty periods). But if the motors are designed to last decades of daily use then the warranty needs to reflect that. 

Torqeedo is a quality product which is widely used on commercial vessels in daily use, including our own safety boat. The warranty is two years, not one year.

Our main product line for yachts, launches and commercial vessels is Combi. If you want an outboard to last a lifetime and pass to your grandkids then choose Combi. Torqeedo's big boat range is more aimed at performance (lightweight, high speed, high price). For a planing boat, superyacht tender, a very small dinghy or a racing yacht I'd usually recommend Torqeedo.

Combi started supplying electric outboards 41 years ago. The outboards they supplied 41 years ago are still in daily use on hire boats. Since then the designs have been refined and optimised continually, with innovations such as AC motors and IPM motors. They are 100% reliable. the warranty is nominally two years but as far as I know there has never been a failure of a Combi motor so the question of warranty is irrelevant.

The motors go up to about 4000 hours between services (at least two years of daily use, on hire all day). A service is just a change of bearings and seals. For comparison, a typical two stroke is scrapped after 2000 hours, by which time it has been serviced 20 times.

Combi still provide service and support for those 41 year old motors and the many thousands they have produced since. Some fleets service their own motors, which is not difficult. Others return the whole fleet of motors to Combi for servicing.

In leisure use, you'll never reach the first service interval, although the seals might eventually perish so maybe good to replace them after ten years.

On our safety boat we have a Torqeedo which is in daily use. We chose it because the big prop is better for towing. Our hire boats have Ruban Bleu ECO pods. They are similar to the Combi product but use a brushed motor so they require a 1000 hour service to change the brushes. We selected them over Combi mainly because they were in stock. Combi had a long waiting list for production after lockdown and we couldn't get the Combi here in time for the summer season.

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On 4/04/2021 at 9:49 PM, Tamure said:

When energy density becomes cheaper and more easily rechargeable then sure, but the transition is going to take a long time. 

Yep. In fact it never will. The energy content of a litre of liquid fuel is so huge, there is no way a battery is ever going to come close to storing such energy. There has to be some other rather large advantages.
If it is just about in and out of Marina so to speak, then electric is going to work. But it is a lot of money and complexity just to travel short distances.

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32 minutes ago, wheels said:

Yep. In fact it never will. The energy content of a litre of liquid fuel is so huge, there is no way a battery is ever going to come close to storing such energy. There has to be some other rather large advantages.
If it is just about in and out of Marina so to speak, then electric is going to work. But it is a lot of money and complexity just to travel short distances.

I read somewhere that your typical hydrocarbon fuel is in a range of 35 to 45 times more energy dense than the best battery, pretty hard to close that gap. Also a battery does not get lighter as it discharges which is a bummer for electric aircraft. TallyHo at the Sampson boat company is installing a hybrid  BETA diesel.

 

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Yes for my yacht on mooring I always row out, and this Easter reminded me the changes that have occurred since I was young and pushing the sail everywhere ideology, I have kids and a regular job so to be able to go cruising/racing where and when I want and return in good time to meet commitments it is necessary to have a reliable powerful diesel, and yes after tall ships last year I motored back to Westhaven in one go, (I dont recommend it -then heading straight to work) Just pointing out that the capability is needed for most of the current Auckland fleet. 

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4 hours ago, Black Panther said:

Just like a combustion engine. 

Well you could also consider, when did your engine last break down. It may seem like lots of engines break down. But with the number of engines out there, they are actually very reliable. Where as full electric has the complexity of Batteries, and Li being full of electronics, Chargers and other boxes full of electronics full of the magic smoke. Then the electric motors. Quite a complex system and I learned a very important lesson from you BP. Keep things simple. I used to be far too techy on my boat. I also seemed to be always replacing something. Some Pump, or some electronic thingy. And I thought you know? BP has a point. My next boat (if I ever get one) is going to remain simple.
Back to engines, the biggest problem the Airo industry has is not just the battery. Although they are getting very close to sorting that by the way. But the main issue is getting people to change their thinking to Electric propulsion actually being safe. It is probably safer, but that is not the perception.

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20 hours ago, wheels said:

Well you could also consider, when did your engine last break down. It may seem like lots of engines break down. But with the number of engines out there, they are actually very reliable. Where as full electric has the complexity of Batteries, and Li being full of electronics, Chargers and other boxes full of electronics full of the magic smoke. Then the electric motors. Quite a complex system and I learned a very important lesson from you BP. Keep things simple. I used to be far too techy on my boat. I also seemed to be always replacing something. Some Pump, or some electronic thingy. And I thought you know? BP has a point. My next boat (if I ever get one) is going to remain simple.
Back to engines, the biggest problem the Airo industry has is not just the battery. Although they are getting very close to sorting that by the way. But the main issue is getting people to change their thinking to Electric propulsion actually being safe. It is probably safer, but that is not the perception.

You're right that keeping it simple is the key. Don't confuse the unknown with complexity though.

An electric propulsion system has only one moving part (plus the balls in the bearings if you're pedantic). A diesel has hundreds of moving parts. The starter motor alone has more moving parts than a whole electric propulsion system!

Not only that but a diesel vibrates everything else in the boat, potentially causing all sorts of other things to work loose or fail before their time, from hull fastenings around the engine mounts to electrical wiring, even metal fatigue in the rigging. Not to mention all those water hoses, exhaust, electrical cables and seacocks all vibrating against each other and chafing, competing to start a fire or sink the boat.

IMHO if you're really keeping it simple then electric is the way to go. Of course electric can be complicated if done wrong but still not half as complex as the simplest diesel.

If you're keeping electric simple then a pod motor is usually the way to go.

If you're keeping hybrid simple then a parallel hybrid, belt driven by (and driving) the propshaft of a conventional diesel is the way to go  NOT usually a separate genset - serial hybrids are complicated. There are some situations where serial hybrid is the best option but it's rare.

You may be concerned about getting your electrics wet but the pod motor is of course waterproof and submersible, as are most of the water cooled inboard motors. Waterproof chargers are readily available too.

But a waterproof charger isn't really necessary once you eliminate all those hoses, seacocks and even the hole in the hull for the propshaft. You may never have any bilge water ever again!

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, syohana said:

Your right that keeping it simple is the key. Don't confuse the unknown with complexity though.

An electric propulsion system has only one moving part (plus the balls in the bearings if you're pedantic). A diesel has hundreds of moving parts. The starter motor alone has more moving parts than a whole electric propulsion system!

Complexity is not just about moving parts though. In fact moving parts can be more reliable. It all just depends. If you use electronics as the example, the complexity is the individual components couple with solder joints and all coupled to the PCB and then all coupled to multiple units maybe. Any one individual connection can fail and bring the system crashing down. Then there is the complexity of the software. Yep something can last a lifetime and other things can fail out of the box. Many of the larger Superyacht and Ship mishaps have come down to failures in electronic control of stearing or propulsion. So it happens.
But don't get me wrong, I am not saying electronic is Bad. I am just saying everything has positives and negatives to be considered.
Aside from that though, the main issue of Electric propulsion is still in the storage re both charge time and capacity.
Once Hydrogen becomes accessible, that will change everything. 40,000 times more energy than Diesel per weight for weight.

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45 minutes ago, wheels said:

Once Hydrogen becomes accessible, that will change everything. 40,000 times more energy than Diesel per weight for weight.

No. If that was the case we would of seen great strides in hydrogen technology to harness the energy.

Diesel has around 45 MJ/kg and Hydrogen around 120 MJ/kg.   In electrical terms, the energy density of hydrogen is around 34 kWh of usable energy per kg, versus diesel which is around 13 kWh per kg.

Of course Hydrogen Fusion is 170Billion kWh/kg. But I don't think you're expecting a hydrogen nuclear fusion reactors on yachts anytime soon... ;)

When I was looking at range extender options, I considered both hydrogen fuel cells and methanol fuel cells, the technology is quite sound but the output isn't.

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Hydrogen is not happening any time soon. If you want unlimited range then solar panels are a cheap, easy, silent solution. Most boats can carry enough solar to do at least 3 knots in direct sunlight without taking anything from the batteries. Motorboats without shade from rigging and multihulls with more space can go as high as 5 knots in full sunshine or up to 3 knots on a bright cloudy day.

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