Have Torqueedo Outboards Come of Age Yet

hdra

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Does anyone have experience with relatively new Torqueedo outboards?  We're thinking about getting one to replace the 9.9HP Mercury 4-stroke (which has its own set of issues) on our Achilles 3.4m air-floor inflatable.  I know there were a lot of teething problems with the Torqueedos, particularly around waterproof-ness/marinization  - I had some friends who bought one in 2011 and replaced it 6 months later with a gas 4-stroke.  Has battery life / range / performance improved significantly?  I know we won't be able to plane with one, but will we be able to push the dinghy with 5 adults in it into 20kts of wind?  How many batteries would we need to shuttle back and forth to shore all day at a reasonable pace?

-Eric

 
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dylan winter

Super Anarchist
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I have had one for six months now

here are two films about it

In summary - good for four miles at full blatt- 6 knots - 12 foot dinghy

good for 14 miles at 3 knots - and because it is quiet I am happy to go at three knots

the gain on the mike first film makes it sound noisier than it is

I used a petrol outboard the other day for the first time after six months of peaceful motoring. It seemed smelly and noisy by comparison.






 
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Max Rockatansky

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There’s some folks here have just returned for the winter with I assume the same torqueedo pushing a Portland pudgy; it’s been a year since I saw them last 

 

TQA

Super Anarchist
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Caribbean
Pushing a loaded RIB into a head wind uses the battery fairly quickly. Say an hour or less. I would want a spare.

On the other hand pottering about in calm conditions in an easily driven skiff and the battery will last much longer. 

If I knew I was never going to make more than 2 short trips in a day then at 1500 US the 2 hp is worth considering.

But that is still 3 times the price of a 2 stroke 2.5hp 

 
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Has battery life / range / performance improved significantly?
Not much.  Travel 1003C was released recently with increased range, I think the same model that Dylan reviews.  Expensive initial outlay for minimal range and long charging times.  (7 hours for charging from the mains, double that using a 12v charger.)  Dylan covered the positive points: quiet, clean and low maintenance.

  I think these will remain relatively niche until battery technology catches up with the concept in terms of energy density and charging speed.  I have a 10 year old 4 stroke Yamaha 2.5 on my hard dinghy and I'm pretty sure I'll have it 10 years from now.  Not sure a Torqeedo owner will be able to make the same statement without sending their unit in for repairs and needing to eventually purchase a new battery pack for $1k.

 
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Bull City

Bull City
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North Carolina
Hdra,

I'm using a Travel 1003 for auxiliary power for my 3200 lb. H-Boat on an inland lake - much different purpose than you have in mind. I have a 500+Wh battery and a 900+Wh battery. Thus far it has been fine. I migrated from a Honda 2.3 HP 4-cycle last January. It would push me at about 5.3 knots with WOT in calm air; the Travel 1003 would do 4.8 knots. While the Torqeedo people say it's equivalent to 3 HP, I don't think it is. Nevertheless, I've been quite happy with it. 

Take a look at this thread for lots of info.




 

sshow bob

Super Anarchist
2,349
293
Maine
Anecdotal evidence around here is they're not ready.  One friend had a software glitch this summer that required the outboard to be returned to Torqeedo for reflashing.  Could not be done locally. He discovered a number of similar reports.  Annoying if you live somewhere you can borrow a spare from someone to use to get out to your boat;  a real issue if you're off cruising.  YMMV.  Do not taunt happy fun ball. Etc.

 

hdra

Anarchist
598
123
Dylan, which motor/battery are you reviewing?  The 530WH battery or the 900Wh+ one?

Bull City, Thanks for the link - will dig through that post tomorrow.

My biggest concern (I think) is ability to run all day without issues - we're going to be doing some trips next spring where the 3.4m airfloor boat will need to be shuttling scuba tanks back and forth between the big boat and another tender on a dive site all day long, potentially up to 1 mile round trips.  We've got plenty of charging capability to recharge batteries, but would be nice to be able to only buy 2 batteries and not have to worry about things like software glitches freezing the motor.

We've done this with the 9.9hp gas motor, and trying to decide if we can expect to be able to function (albeit perhaps slower when returning empty) with an electric.  The 9.9HP mercury is a bit of a bastard - not very reliable, always clogging the idle jet (no matter about filtration etc) so am trying to decide which set of headaches is better.

 
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dylan winter

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Not much.  Travel 1003C was released recently with increased range, I think the same model that Dylan reviews.  Expensive initial outlay for minimal range and long charging times.  (7 hours for charging from the mains, double that using a 12v charger.)  Dylan covered the positive points: quiet, clean and low maintenance.

  I think these will remain relatively niche until battery technology catches up with the concept in terms of energy density and charging speed.  I have a 10 year old 4 stroke Yamaha 2.5 on my hard dinghy and I'm pretty sure I'll have it 10 years from now.  Not sure a Torqeedo owner will be able to make the same statement without sending their unit in for repairs and needing to eventually purchase a new battery pack for $1k.
I think that the move to electric requires a slight change of mindset and accepting a few truths about the way we use our dinghies in the real world.  I cannot remember the last time I did more than a couple of miles in the tender when using the Honda 2.3 (an excellent little engine in its way - although not without some faults). Most of the time I use it I am ferrying stuff to and from the shore - usually around 200 yards or so.  At three knots the dinghy/torqeedo combo I have seems to offer around 10 or 12 miles of travel and is using about 300 watts or so at that speed.  That is a s lot of shuttling around. If I want to go at six knots the engine is using 1KW and is forcing the dinghy up onto the plane - not an efficient way to travel. - down to four miles then.

When on holiday I am usually marina hopping and doing just the occasional night on the hook or a mooring. Again short shuffles.  So keeping the thing charged is no problem.

Battery life of the Lithium Ion jobbies is turning out to be longer than expected - fingers crossed.

the manufacturers of batteries for almost everything are using the same  16250 cells in them - the cars the powerwalls, the laptops, the bikes, the cordless drills. Power density on these cells is slowly rising. 

My engine  is a long shaft and I use it in the trailer sailer as well as the dinghy- I am on a river with 3 knot tides - but only in the channel - along the edges it runs at 0.5 knots  so if I cannot get the 22 footer going at 3.5 knots then I am not going to my mooring (which is in the deep water).

I reckon it will shove my one tonne trailer sailer at 4.5 knots - but only for half an hour or so. If I am using the little Honda on the big boat then a gallon of petrol will keep that little sucker running at 4.5 knots for around 8 hours. However, 8 hours of sharing a cockpit with an air cooled honda in a well at the centre of a parallax reflector is a truly pants experience.





The Torqeedo is a bit like my electric bike - it is not a case of chucking away the old bike - but running them both but on different days.

With the Torqeedo my dinghy and yacht do not smell of petrol, it costs about 10 pence for a tank full of electricity, so far no maintenance has been required. It does not feel as robust as the Honda... but maybe it does not need to be.

I was given this Torqeedo by a Tanker Captain called Chris (who says my films keep him sane when on a six week tour of duty)  He said it would change my relationship with the river. It has done that. I see more birds, I travel more slowly because travelling under power is almost as nice as sailing, if I am not going that well to windward just to get around a bend in the estuary or I stuff up a tack too close to the mud flicking the throttle on the Torqeedo swings her around in a jiffy.

All round, I love not using the petrol engines - but I would never risk leaving the estuary unless at least one of them is aboard for when the Torqeedo runs out of puff.

You do have to change your thinking .... but being able to hear the birds when under power is a wonderful thing.

Dylan

 

dylan winter

Super Anarchist
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Dylan, which motor/battery are you reviewing?  The 530WH battery or the 900Wh+ one?

Bull City, Thanks for the link - will dig through that post tomorrow.

My biggest concern (I think) is ability to run all day without issues - we're going to be doing some trips next spring where the 3.4m airfloor boat will need to be shuttling scuba tanks back and forth between the big boat and another tender on a dive site all day long, potentially up to 1 mile round trips.  We've got plenty of charging capability to recharge batteries, but would be nice to be able to only buy 2 batteries and not have to worry about things like software glitches freezing the motor.

We've done this with the 9.9hp gas motor, and trying to decide if we can expect to be able to function (albeit perhaps slower when returning empty) with an electric.  The 9.9HP mercury is a bit of a bastard - not very reliable, always clogging the idle jet (no matter about filtration etc) so am trying to decide which set of headaches is better.
It is the bigger battery. The use you describe sounds like a big ask for a battery outboard. I would use an air cooled Honda 2.3. They are amazing engines - they are basically paretially marinised lawnmover engines. Designed to run flawlessly and on almost no maintenance for five years or so - but when they give up they really do throw in the towell



Incidentally, an unexpected upside of an air cooled outboard in an engine well is that it keeps my feet warm in winter.

 

kdh

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I don't know. Oars are so easy to use and maintain. I'll stick with that approach for now.

 

dylan winter

Super Anarchist
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I love rowing too - but there are times when you need to move a lot of gear around or the tide and the wind are both coming the wrong way or you need a back-up for the main engine.

I now have three dinghies and three sets of oars. When family come to stay we often go off for a row in the dinghies - usually downtide or downwind. Once it is time to come home we breast up the three dinghies and use the Torqeedo for bringing us all home. It is then that we break open the wine or rum and drink as we come back home. We can talk using our voices at normal volume. 

I am really enjoying the little engine.

 

Bull City

Bull City
6,848
2,501
North Carolina
Dylan,

I join you in enjoying the relative quiet and the absence of petroleum smell. So far, I haven't had any range anxiety, but my needs are different from Hdra's, and yours. The added bonuses for me are (a) Reverse gear, and (b) Remote throttle (connected by cable): my boat has a long afterdeck, and reaching the Honda's throttle was very awkward, (c) no more repeatedly yanking the bloody starter cord and having it snap back and hit my other hand.

I can break down the Torqeedo into two components and lock them in the cabin with no worries about leaking gasoline and oil.

Happy Torqeedoing,

B.C.

 

HFC Hunter

Super Anarchist
I'm guessing the long charge time effectively precludes the chance of sitting a solar panel in the dink as the juicer then?

If you're towing them with the prop down can they hydro-generate?

A shame they look like a Transformer's robot dick. Musk or Jobs wouldn't have launched the future looking that clunky.

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,355
2,718
Edgewater, MD
I'm getting 3 miles range out of a lead acid car battery and an electric trolling motor. 

I love the quiet and I'd love 5-8 mile range of a Torqueedo.

 

HFC Hunter

Super Anarchist
Hey @dylan winter, why not tart up your parabolic sound torture panel with some funky cork acoustic baffling? Or less funky acrylic sonic diffusers. Or take the swain way and weld on some egg cartons.

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Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
2,736
2,173
There is no doubt, the Torqueedo is here to stay. I've seen several around the coast. That's a big increase considering I didn't see a one until a couple years ago. About that time, many people were saying the electric car would never work out for production. Ha! I especially appreciate the lack of noise when one goes by. Everybody does. 

If we ever feel the need for an assist, it will be an electric outboard. I dislike all the complications of an outboard, the smell and noise. The Torqueedo solves that at a reasonable cost. It does add complication to our simple, reliable rowing system. 

Our typical row for our coastal cruising, even when ferrying big loads, isn't very long. It's the most pleasurable exercise(which we look for), better than a walk in the woods. 

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