ePropulsion and Torqeedo experiences

Rasputin22

Rasputin22
13,898
3,456
AutoProp are the oddest looking things but I can attest that they do regenerate well, almost too well since I fried a set of batteries with one.




 

fastyacht

Super Anarchist
12,928
2,596
We're on our third season with an ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 -- it's been absolutely flawless so far. Way prefer it to a small outboard with a carburetor getting clogged up owing to ethanol in the fuel. Storage is another plus, as it can just get dumped in a cockpit locker in any orientation.

That said, if we were instead cruising in the Caribbean where longer dinghy rides to good snorkeling spots are more typical than the short runs ashore we do here in the northeast, I could see the advantages of a gasoline powered outboard, especially given that they don't contaminate their gasoline with ethanol.
Ethanol in the fuel is a big FUCK YOU from the Iowa Corn Lobby.

 

Beanie 101

Member
64
36
UK
I had a Torqeedo 1003 with two spare batteries, plus a Mariner 6hp for longer range grunt work.  I really didn’t like the Torqeedo much (temperamental connectors, fragile plastics, whining gears) and I was wary of carburettor clogging on the Mariner.  When ePropulsion brought out the Spirit 1.0 Plus with direct drive and a much bigger battery, I took a deep breath, sold the Torqeedo and Mariner and bought one.  So far, I’m much happier with it.  The other day I was driving against a 1+ kn tide and an F3-4 apparent wind and covered 9nm in just under three hours.  Slow but steady.

The interesting new bit of eProp kit for me is the solar controller.  It can charge the eProp on the go, not just from solar panels but from other batteries.  I have two fairly large e-bike lithium batteries that I use, one after the other, to extend the range through the controller when the sun doesn’t shine, which is mostly.  So for my 9nm trip at just over 400W, the eProp battery should have been almost fully discharged by the end  but because I was charging on the go, I had about a third of a tank left.  It helps to allay range anxiety in a cheapskate sort of way but I suspect that I’ll be buying a spare eProp battery next season.

Using electric motors requires a change of attitude.  The Mariner 6hp could blast its way through anything, once I got it started.  With the eProp, I have to take currents into account, planning (mostly) to work with rather than against them.  I’ve also had to get used to going more slowly but it’s curiously relaxing doing so.  No noise, smell or vibration, just admiring the scenery in zen-like detail and listening to the birds.

 
On Sunday, I did some runs to measure more precisely my performance. I have an Olson 40 with an Electric Yacht 10KW motor derated to use a maximum of 95 watts, so about 4.5 KW. I have a battery bank of four Battle Born "12V" 100 amp hour batteries in series for a "48V" bank. Since these are lithium, the typical voltage is in the mid to low 50V range.

The raw data consists of photos of the ElectricYacht instrument panel and screen grabs of iNavX instrument page on my iPhone. Here are the results tabulated:

image.png

View attachment Electric Propulsion Performance.pdf

 
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allweather

Member
415
82
baltic
The Mariner 6hp could blast its way through anything
What boat are you driving with these motors again?

And as you have the direct comparison with a 6hp to the spirit I would like to know what exactly you mean with blasting through everything?

people keep telling me that, and from a watt perspective it makes some sense. But when I last tested with my H-boat(8m) speed topped out at 5,5-6kn(not wind) and the prop started cavitating instead of driving the hull faster. In other words, that extra power is wasted.

This was with slowly getting up to speed, nevermind in a high wind/wave situation where speed would be lower and loss of theust would happen even sooner. When looking at thrust at rest I barely got 50lbs or so  

Which is why I‘d like to know how different it actually is with the spirit n your experience. How much less thrust do you experience actually compared to the 6hp outboard. Range not considered as an electric at full power doesn‘t have a lot of that. Certainly not anywhere near the energy density gas provides. But when power is the important factor and not range(typical high wind harbor approach  short but gusty)

 
Ethanol in the fuel is a big FUCK YOU from the Iowa Corn Lobby.
Ethanol in gasoline is called "oxygenated" because alcohol has a lot of oxygen in the molecule that is easily released and used for combustion. Adding Ethanol to gasoline has huge performance advantages if the engine control computer can take advantage of it. For example, the SSC car that recently went 330 mph on a public road in Nevada used E85 to get maximum HP from its turbocharged engine.

In California, oxygenated fuel has been literally a life saver. The smog in LA almost disappeared, like magic, with oxygenated fuel (Ethanol added).

I agree that lobbying is evil, and should lead to incarceration, but our elected officials do not agree: both parties reap enormous financial gain from lobbyists. And I agree that Ethanol has problems. But it also has big advantages. Like nearly everything in life, there is some good that comes with some bad.

 
Oh: The speed in the table above is in knots. And the governor is set to 95 amps, not watts.

The reason the V seems to increase over time, with power being drawn, is because even LiFePO4 batteries have **some** internal resistance, so higher draw results in lower voltage. No generator was being used, no solar panels, and no other electrical draw (even the fridge was turned off).

Too late, I can't edit it.

 
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socalrider

Super Anarchist
1,390
749
San Diego CA
On Sunday, I did some runs to measure more precisely my performance. I have an Olson 40 with an Electric Yacht 10KW motor derated to use a maximum of 95 watts, so about 4.5 KW. I have a battery bank of four Battle Born "12V" 100 amp hour batteries in series for a "48V" bank. Since these are lithium, the typical voltage is in the mid to low 50V range.

The raw data consists of photos of the ElectricYacht instrument panel and screen grabs of iNavX instrument page on my iPhone. Here are the results tabulated:

View attachment 402676

View attachment 402671
This is great data, thanks!  

Curious what the all-in weight looks like compared to the engine plus fuel tank, exhaust system, original lead-acid batteries, etc. etc. etc.  

Those LFP batteries weigh 29lb/ea, so you could double your range for only another 100lb assuming you had the space and $$.  Looks like ~10NM of functional range albeit at low speed.  That'd probably be fine for 95% of most people's actual usage.  

The other interesting thing I see from that table is how efficient your hull is at low speeds - another way of boosting range for that other 5% would be to run one of those 2.2hp Honda gensets.  For instance you could run at 4.8kts with 1kW from the genset and 1kW from the batteries for 4.5hrs and get 20NM to Catalina (barely), then trickle charge back up with solar while you're there.  Obviously if you did that a lot you'd probably want to keep the diesel!  

 

Mr. Squirrel

Super Anarchist
What I have noticed is many many people in the J/70 class have gone back to 4 stroke outboards.  Class rules dictate a minimum weight so you have to carry 2 batteries. No gas mess to deal with, but that is the only benefit.  And most are tired being beaten to the hoist because the Torqueedo can only manage 3.5 - 4.0 knots while the 4 strokes are pushing 5 knots.

Also, the gen 1 and gen 2 Torqueedo batteries were shit and rarely lasted much more than 1 year.  Not sure if they have improved them or not.

MS

 

JohnMB

Super Anarchist
2,837
609
Evanston
What I have noticed is many many people in the J/70 class have gone back to 4 stroke outboards.  Class rules dictate a minimum weight so you have to carry 2 batteries.
Class rule minimum weight is 12kg, so there should be no need for extra batteries.

.

 

fastyacht

Super Anarchist
12,928
2,596
Ethanol in gasoline is called "oxygenated" because alcohol has a lot of oxygen in the molecule that is easily released and used for combustion. Adding Ethanol to gasoline has huge performance advantages if the engine control computer can take advantage of it. For example, the SSC car that recently went 330 mph on a public road in Nevada used E85 to get maximum HP from its turbocharged engine.

In California, oxygenated fuel has been literally a life saver. The smog in LA almost disappeared, like magic, with oxygenated fuel (Ethanol added).

I agree that lobbying is evil, and should lead to incarceration, but our elected officials do not agree: both parties reap enormous financial gain from lobbyists. And I agree that Ethanol has problems. But it also has big advantages. Like nearly everything in life, there is some good that comes with some bad.
Before the E10, we had MTBE and ETBE additive (oxygenate). The ethanol during the switchover caused the fucking fuel to GEL IN THE FUCKING TANK AND CARBS.

Howevver MTBE was no saint. Made the tankermen high as a kite and terrible headaches. Toxic. Also fucked up a lot of groudnwater. Aty least ehtanhol is nontoxi  (hahahaha well not but you get the point).

In the MTBE dayts in the east coast the oxygenate was originally all about seasonal stuff. It wasnt year round or it varied over the year (it has been a long time).
 

 
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This is great data, thanks!  

Curious what the all-in weight looks like compared to the engine plus fuel tank, exhaust system, original lead-acid batteries, etc. etc. etc.  

Those LFP batteries weigh 29lb/ea, so you could double your range for only another 100lb assuming you had the space and $$.  Looks like ~10NM of functional range albeit at low speed.  That'd probably be fine for 95% of most people's actual usage.  

The other interesting thing I see from that table is how efficient your hull is at low speeds - another way of boosting range for that other 5% would be to run one of those 2.2hp Honda gensets.  For instance you could run at 4.8kts with 1kW from the genset and 1kW from the batteries for 4.5hrs and get 20NM to Catalina (barely), then trickle charge back up with solar while you're there.  Obviously if you did that a lot you'd probably want to keep the diesel!  
At the time, I think the weight savings was about 700 lbs, but I did not keep the data, and did not measure precisely. But it was certainly closer to 700 lbs than to 500 lbs.

I am thinking strongly about doubling my battery capacity. As you point out, its about 120 lbs to do so, not bad. I still have a LOT of tools aboard from the refit that I can offload.

Before adding a generator (which I agree is pretty darn simple to do), I am going to change the prop and add solar.

At the next visit to the shipyard later this calendar year, I intend to swap the folding Martec for either an Autoprop as Rasputin mentioned above, or a feathering prop. Not another folding prop, which does not work, and I can't imagine how it could possible work to provide meaningful charging current. I know Rasputin had excellent experience with Autoprops on an electric catamaran. I would rather have lower drag, hence the continuing attraction to feathering props. But the Autoprop seemed to be easily the best for regeneration.

Given a prop that provides hydrogenation via the existing motor, I don't need a big ugly high windage permanent solar platform. I will instead mount the solar on a shade structure that I put up when moored/anchored/docked. The shade structure will probably be a hyperbolic paraboloid surface so it does not flap in the wind, as such motion can break even flexible panels. A hyperbolic paraboloid structure can be a square, with one diagonal running from the mast to the backstay (holding up), and the other diagonal running athwartship to adjustable re-purposed whisker poles to the side (pulling down). The nice thing about such a surface is that the entire surface is smoothly curved, and under tension, so each point has 3D forces acting on it, not just 2D, so if the corners are tensioned, the entire surface is tensioned and stable.

image.jpeg

 

Dino

Anarchist
820
17
Ireland
I recently got my hands on a Torqeedo Travel 801. A friends dad had it lying in his garage for 8 years. I tried charging it but it wouldn’t take a charge. 
Has anyone bought new battery cells online and replaced them? 

 

weightless

Super Anarchist
5,607
583
I recently got my hands on a Torqeedo Travel 801. A friends dad had it lying in his garage for 8 years. I tried charging it but it wouldn’t take a charge. 
Has anyone bought new battery cells online and replaced them? 
8 years old is very old for NMC. Not surprised it didn't charge. I'd be tempted to carefully take the cover off and see if you can revive it by charging it slowly using a bench power supply connected to the terminals. It's a long shot but it might just need to get above the LVC to begin the charge cycle.

I rebuilt a Torqeedo battery just to see if I could. I removed the bad cells and made a new battery from the good ones. It can be done but it's a dangerous project and it could result in a dangerous product in the end. One unexpected complication was that the battery was bedded in urethane. So, removal was a chore.

 

weightless

Super Anarchist
5,607
583
'battery was bedded in urethane'
Just the bottom quarter or so of the battery, IIRC. Looked like they poured in a pack of rubber. The case looked like it was designed with a more conventional system of securing the battery in mind. So, I wonder if the one I had wasn't an ad hoc assembly. Maybe they ran out of parts? Maybe a design change to deal with fire or vibration? I dunno, but it was unexpected.

The faulty cells looked like they had gotten seriously hot.

 

Beanie 101

Member
64
36
UK
What boat are you driving with these motors again?

And as you have the direct comparison with a 6hp to the spirit I would like to know what exactly you mean with blasting through everything?

people keep telling me that, and from a watt perspective it makes some sense. But when I last tested with my H-boat(8m) speed topped out at 5,5-6kn(not wind) and the prop started cavitating instead of driving the hull faster. In other words, that extra power is wasted.

This was with slowly getting up to speed, nevermind in a high wind/wave situation where speed would be lower and loss of theust would happen even sooner. When looking at thrust at rest I barely got 50lbs or so  

Which is why I‘d like to know how different it actually is with the spirit n your experience. How much less thrust do you experience actually compared to the 6hp outboard. Range not considered as an electric at full power doesn‘t have a lot of that. Certainly not anywhere near the energy density gas provides. But when power is the important factor and not range(typical high wind harbor approach  short but gusty)
I have a BayRaider 20, which is an open 20’ yawl.  The outboard well is quite a way forward of the rudder, so the prop remains well buried in all conditions and has never cavitated.

The Mariner had a high thrust prop which would take the boat up to theoretical maximum hull speed (5.5 knots) and beyond to over 6 knots, making an enormous wake and a lot of noise.  In practice, I was usually lighter on the throttle but if headed by wind and waves, there was always sufficient thrust in reserve to counteract them.  Hence the comment that I could blast through anything.

Not so with electric - with either the Torqeedo or eProp Spirit, the most speed I could get out of the boat in flat calm conditions on full revs is 5 knots and heading into a force 3 or 4, I’d be lucky to get up to 4 knots.  If travelling any distance, I would make do with 3 knots to conserve the battery range.  Using electric requires a different outlook and a bit of patience.  It’s probably not for everyone but for me, it’s a price worth paying for the lack of smell, noise and vibration, not to mention the risk of a clogged carburettor and zero knots.

 
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allweather

Member
415
82
baltic
Thanks for the response. That is certainly an interesting experience in regards to the electric's lack of ability to push the boat. Or more importantly, that the gas one did not struggle with thrust either.

I wonder where this discrepancy comes from? You are not the first one that told me about this experience(one of the few with a good explanation though) and I can't figure out what causes this when the thrust figures between the motors should be similar. Not range or peak power that the gas engine wins every time hands down, but actually usuable thrust that should not be higher but in every direct comparison always seems to be.

What I wish for companies using some good standards for comparison instead of leaving the marketing department to being useless.
Or puplish some good depiction of use cases instead of feel good videos...

For me the benefits of going electric(the smell, gas everywhere, somewhat more maintenance. Vibration. Damn the noise and vibration!) do outweigh the drawbacks. But I'm also sharing the boat with family members that are... harder to convince and I am not switching outboards every time I want to go out.

Thanks for sharing your experience in detail. Got a good argument or two and things to look out for from it.
Now to find someone I can pick a motor off of in my area and demonstrate that it works with my boat... I asked a local supplier about this and he just shrugged his shoulders in regards to test drives. Can't believe they're missing out on that business opportunity.

 

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,059
2,670
North Carolina
Not so with electric - with either the Torqeedo or eProp Spirit, the most speed I could get out of the boat in flat calm conditions on full revs is 5 knots and heading into a force 3 or 4, I’d be lucky to get up to 4 knots.  If travelling any distance, I would make do with 3 knots to conserve the battery range.  Using electric requires a different outlook and a bit of patience.  It’s probably not for everyone but for me, it’s a price worth paying for the lack of smell, noise and vibration, not to mention the risk of a clogged carburettor and zero knots.
I've been using a Torqeedo 1003 (3 HP) on my H-Boat (27 feey, 3,200 lb.) for almost 3 years on an inland lake. My experience is very similar to Beanie's. I have three 900 Wh batteries, so range is not an issue.

 




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