Switched to Electric

Fah Kiew Tu

Curmudgeon, First Rank
10,431
3,508
Tasmania, Australia
I rarely see anybody say "You can't". There are quite a few people who say "I wouldn't" or "not practical for many uses". Which is an entirely different thing. 
I do get tired of all the people who do their best to deflect from engineering reality by attempting to paint those who aren't enthusiastic about boat electric drives as deniers ("you can't").

It's bullshit.

I guess the main reason they do it is so they can ignore the all too real engineering issues. Better to paint the critics as people out of touch with reality and therefore to be ignored.

Except - it doesn't work and makes those who try it come across as idiots.

Shrug. Annoyingly amusing because it doesn't alter the current state of engineering art one iota.

FKT

 

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,199
2,837
North Carolina
FKT:

I do get tired of all the people who do their best to deflect from engineering reality by attempting to paint those who aren't enthusiastic about boat electric drives as deniers ("you can't").
I have been an electric power enthusiast. It works for me - my boat, my venue - but I recognize that it's not for everyone, and it may be a long time before it is. I hope I've been clear on that.

That said, there are dozens of sailboats at my marina who could use electric power, but don't. The reasons are primarily economic: Who wants to scrap a perfectly good inboard diesel and spend a ton on an electric inboard system; Who wants to get rid of a gas OB and spend 3X on an electric one?

In my case, I was dissatisfied with OB power (gas or electric) and opted for inboard (which made absolutely no financial sense BTW). Electric was cheaper and suited my sensibilities.

 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
3,291
2,930
The E-propulsion poster rarely asks, "Is it right for me to go electric"?

Yet replies on forums are mostly of the "I wouldn't", unsolicited.

Usually, somebody engaged in this conversion is lightyears beyond the "can I?" stage. 

Everybody knows why E-propulsion does - or does not, work for them. That's been said a zillion times.  

 

Jim in Halifax

Super Anarchist
1,798
863
Nova Scotia
There are a lot of what my son would dub "hipsters" who were raised on the interwebs and have been inculcated in the mantra of "electric=good, hydrocarbon=bad". I don't waste my time with them anymore. But sometimes when some innocent has made incorrect assumptions, I can't help myself...its just another one of my character flaws.

duty_calls.png


When I see a well-reasoned conversion to electric such as Bull's or Phil's I sleep soundly at night.

 

chester

Super Anarchist
6,649
1,606
The E-propulsion poster rarely asks, "Is it right for me to go electric"?

Yet replies on forums are mostly of the "I wouldn't", unsolicited.

Usually, somebody engaged in this conversion is lightyears beyond the "can I?" stage. 

Everybody knows why E-propulsion does - or does not, work for them. That's been said a zillion times.  
you didn't use the phrase "use case" so everybody immedieately knows you don't know what you are talking about...sorry.

 

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,199
2,837
North Carolina
Very good article in the latest WoodenBoat (March/April 2022 #285) by Stan Grayson about his switch to electric propulsion. First, a Torqeedo OB for his inflatable dinghy, and then an electric inboard for his Pisces 21 daysailer.
Quoting myself again for the 100th+ time...

One thing put me off on this article. Grayson described how he had to buy a portable gas generator to charge the batteries on his Pisces 21, because he kept the boat on a mooring. He would bring it out on his dinghy and fire it up. It could take a few hours to charge the battery. Imagine the noise. Seems kind of (a) crude, (b) Rube Goldberg-ish, (c) a cause of hearing loss.

 

Jim in Halifax

Super Anarchist
1,798
863
Nova Scotia
Solar is definitely the way to keep batteries charged on a mooring. There is a probably a break point somewhere on size of boat/area to spread solar panels versus the size of battery bank required for electric propulsion. I'll bet a lot multi-hulls are ideal candidates for solar electric propulsion.

Stan would piss me off if he was moored in my harbour, even if he used one of those quiet 'suitcase' Honda gennys.

 
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Panoramix

Super Anarchist
I think of it in these terms.

Would I install a diesel engine with a fixed tank capacity of 8 litres, and having to be filled via a 3mm orifice?

If that works for you, you'll likely be delighted with an electric drive system.

Once again, it's not the drive itself, it's the range and recharge time that are the issues. There are use-cases that work because people keep their boats in powered slips and don't go far.

FKT
Your mythical diesel would also need to be odourless, silent and be able to regenerate some fuel while sailing or moored...

Whenever there is an electric thread, lot of posters come with unsolicited advices about the limitation of an electric drive as if they were feeling threatened! Seems weird to me... I don't have much experience of electric drive but whenever somebody tries something new I applaud. I don't get why people need to be so negative for something that won't affect them!

On a personal note, I am a bit jealous of those who have gone electric as whereas I am a bad mechanic, I kind of grok electrics plus I hate the odour of diesel. On the positive side my ineptitude to care for diesel engines taught me how to dock a sub 40 feet boat under sail power alone!

 

DDW

Super Anarchist
6,711
1,242
Everybody knows why E-propulsion does - or does not, work for them. That's been said a zillion times.  
If only that were the case, there would be far fewer threads. Many of which start with questions about whether a 5 kw electric motor can replace a 50 hp diesel, and if they can get 24 hours motoring on a 10 Kwh battery. The math is very simple. 1 hp = 0.746 Kw. Duration = Kwh capacity / kw draw. If only people did that math before starting a thread, we'd have very few threads.

I certainly believe that for the vast majority of boats electric would be practical - after all, most of them rarely leave the marina at all, it matters little what form of power they have. 

 

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,199
2,837
North Carolina
Whenever there is an electric thread, lot of posters come with unsolicited advices about the limitation of an electric drive as if they were feeling threatened! Seems weird to me... I don't have much experience of electric drive but whenever somebody tries something new I applaud. I don't get why people need to be so negative for something that won't affect them!
When I first went electric, selling the Honda 2 HP and buying a Torqeedo 3 HP, on the day I was making the change, a guy walks down the dock, sees what I'm doing and says "You know the electricity that you're using to charge that thing is generated by fossil fuels." I bit my tongue, smiled and said, "Really?"

 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
3,291
2,930
When I first went electric, selling the Honda 2 HP and buying a Torqeedo 3 HP, on the day I was making the change, a guy walks down the dock, sees what I'm doing and says "You know the electricity that you're using to charge that thing is generated by fossil fuels." I bit my tongue, smiled and said, "Really?"


After the 'no range' post, the second complaint is usually the politics of fossil fuel generated electricity.

It goes without saying how your electricity is generated (or what your range is), unless you're not paying attention(or doing any research). 

The common theme I read from Bull and Phil's threads have nothing to do with range or fossil fuel generated electricity. 

It's simply the noise and smell from fuel and exhaust, from diesel and gasoline engines.

Those appear to be reasons they converted to e-power. 

 

weightless

Super Anarchist
5,608
587
Torqeedo 3 HP Torqeedo 1003
FIFY ;)

Not that they don't lie provide debatable specs (these for the new more powerful 1003):

https://www.torqeedo.com/us/en-us/products/outboards/travel/travel-1103-c/M-1151-00.html

image.png

I've used a 1003 on the same boat that I've used a 2hp and a 3.5hp outboard. Stock props in all cases. IME, the 1003 is way less powerful* than the 3.5 and less powerful** than the 2. Period. Certainly it does what is needed most of the time. Comparable? Well I suppose things that push boats can be compared. As powerful? NFW. Mind you, it's far more pleasant to use.

*the acceleration is less, top speed is less, ability to power into the wind is less.

**ibid

 

Kolibri

Member
490
577
Haleiwa, HI
After the 'no range' post, the second complaint is usually the politics of fossil fuel generated electricity.

It goes without saying how your electricity is generated (or what your range is), unless you're not paying attention(or doing any research). 

The common theme I read from Bull and Phil's threads have nothing to do with range or fossil fuel generated electricity. 

It's simply the noise and smell from fuel and exhaust, from diesel and gasoline engines.

Those appear to be reasons they converted to e-power. 
Noise, smell, reliability, and amount of maintenance were the biggest drivers for me. No longer relying on fossil fuel was a significant bonus. Cost difference was a wash.

 

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,199
2,837
North Carolina
Noise, smell, reliability, and amount of maintenance were the biggest drivers for me. No longer relying on fossil fuel was a significant bonus. Cost difference was a wash.
With the Honda 2 HP there was also an evil thing it would do. When I pulled the starter cord with my right hand, my left would be on the engine cover. Most times, some mechanism in the motor would snatch the handle out of my hand and it would smash my left hand. God, it hurt. I would utter profanity, take the Lord's name in vain, and otherwise endanger my immortal soul.

So there's that too, in addition to noise, smell and maintenance.

 

floater

Super Duper Anarchist
5,164
887
quivira regnum
Your mythical diesel would also need to be odourless, silent and be able to regenerate some fuel while sailing or moored...

Whenever there is an electric thread, lot of posters come with unsolicited advices about the limitation of an electric drive as if they were feeling threatened! Seems weird to me... I don't have much experience of electric drive but whenever somebody tries something new I applaud. I don't get why people need to be so negative for something that won't affect them!

On a personal note, I am a bit jealous of those who have gone electric as whereas I am a bad mechanic, I kind of grok electrics plus I hate the odour of diesel. On the positive side my ineptitude to care for diesel engines taught me how to dock a sub 40 feet boat under sail power alone!
count me in this camp (on all points). I kinda freak everyone else out when I raise my main in the slip, and sail out. for some reason most sailors thinks it's some sort of rule that you need to motor in and out of the marina.

one of the better explanations I've heard for sticking with a diesel is "if you want to use your boat as a trawler, then stick with a diesel". That kind of sums it up. an electric drive simply not suitable for trawling. But for sailing? I'd like one too.

 

weightless

Super Anarchist
5,608
587
some sort of rule that you need to motor in and out of the marina.
Well, in my marina it is a rule. No sailing, no paddling, no swimming, no fishing. I started noticing marinas with no sailing rules in the 1980s. Maybe they were there before but I think the collective mensch peaked about 1973 heralding in a widening wave of wimpitude. :)

 

toddster

Super Anarchist
4,357
1,053
The Gorge
Well, in my marina it is a rule. No sailing, no paddling, no swimming, no fishing. I started noticing marinas with no sailing rules in the 1980s. Maybe they were there before but I think the collective mensch peaked about 1973 heralding in a widening wave of wimpitude. :)
We're not there yet, but at the peak of high-season congestion I can see how it might come to that some day.

 

MRS OCTOPUS

Anarchist
716
248
AUSTRALIA
FIFY ;)

Not that they don't lie provide debatable specs (these for the new more powerful 1003):

https://www.torqeedo.com/us/en-us/products/outboards/travel/travel-1103-c/M-1151-00.html

View attachment 495590

I've used a 1003 on the same boat that I've used a 2hp and a 3.5hp outboard. Stock props in all cases. IME, the 1003 is way less powerful* than the 3.5 and less powerful** than the 2. Period. Certainly it does what is needed most of the time. Comparable? Well I suppose things that push boats can be compared. As powerful? NFW. Mind you, it's far more pleasant to use.

*the acceleration is less, top speed is less, ability to power into the wind is less.

**ibid
Magazine test shows 1003 no where near equivalent to 3 hp petrol.

Also let’s not forget the Mercury 3.3 spins the same prop as the Mercury 2.5. Just say’n.






 




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