Electric Boat Propulsion – A 2023 Update!
Electric boat propulsion is quickly moving from ‘fad to future’ as evidenced by the number of solutions on offer at the 2023 Toronto Boat show. On display at the show were electric drive personal watercraft, outboards, inboards, runabouts, and pontoon boats. There was a lot of awareness of the benefits of electric technology and all exhibitors reported strong public interest.
Electric propulsion in the marine environment is quickly becoming established and is seen as a growth area by many manufacturers with predictions of a global market value of US$16 billion by 2031. Consequently, this is attracting serious investment in the technology from both established and new marine propulsion companies. Europe appears to be leading the way, but several new entrants have entered the market recently in Canada with more likely to follow.
It is accepted that many boat owners may not be quite ready to switch from fossil fuels engines and are adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude around battery technology and system price. However, advances in battery technology and growing product competition means the pendulum is swinging and the future is getting closer by the day. Good electric propulsion solutions do exist today and are well suited for smaller pleasure craft that operate on the waterways, canals and lakes of Ontario.
Of course there will always be a small percentage, the early adopters, who are focused more on the benefits of a new technology and are less concerned about cost. Maybe this is you? Marine electric propulsion may still be in its infancy, but it is piggybacking off Electric Vehicle technology and quickly carving out its own market share. Like most new technology applications, it is going through an adoption curve. Depending on your age think of these earlier examples that also went through a similar process. Colour television, microwave ovens, the internet, and mobile phones. All started out with limited features, were initially expensive and beyond the reach of most. Electric vehicles are following this trend and are now moving from what is termed the ‘early adopters’ to the ‘early majority’ where profitability increases significantly for manufacturers. Electric Boats aren’t far behind and are in the ‘innovators’ to ‘early adopters’ stages and therefore electric propulsion options should be on your radar!
If you have read this far then you are likely curious about marine electric propulsion and maybe whether it is a viable solution to your current or future boating needs. Sirens Boatworks has built up a good understanding of electric boat propulsion technology and is able to knowledgeably advise on all repowering options, including a transition to electric drive. We continue to follow the industry, regulatory bodies and the American Boat and Yacht Council, who are the leading source of technical information for the international marine industry. Are you looking for an environmental friendly motoring solution or do you have an old boat with an unreliable, noisy, noxious motor? Or are you just interested in electric boat technology? There are now electric propulsion solutions available for all segments of the boating market. Talk to us to get the full story, the advantages, disadvantages, and cost comparisons with more traditional boat engine systems. We have some great resources and are well placed to inform and aid your understanding of electric boat systems. Our aim is to help educate the recreational boating community so we have remained independent and not aligned with any one manufacturer or product line.
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