As I write this, I’m on my way back home from the “IBEX” international Boatbuilders Exhibition in Louisville, Kentucky, where I served as one of the judges in a panel that gave out a series of awards to recognize innovation in new products. IBEX is a unique, trade-only show where the people who make everything that goes into boatbuilding and repair and maintenance try to sell their products to the boatbuilders, repairers and maintainers. There are no boats (mostly) at this show; just all the stuff it takes to make and service them.
And I saw some pretty cool new stuff. I also saw some solutions in search of a problem, and some I just couldn’t figure out. My industry colleague Zuzana Prochazka, who is the chair of the Boating Writers International Awards Judging Committee (oh yeah, and also the current president of BWI), has a good write-up on the awards here at her blog, “Talk of the Dock.”
Here are a couple of my own highlights from the show, not all of which were entered in the Innovation Awards competition:
The new Torqeedo Lithium battery, the Power 26-104. This replaces the current main Torqeedo battery for the company’s high-efficiency electric outboard motors. Lithium battery technology just keeps getting better and more affordable and, I think, in the foreseeable future, we will all be running some form of Lithium-Ion battery in all of our vehicles, maybe even for direct propulsion power. The new Power 26-104 will set you back a bit (MSRP of $2,499) but with a capacity of 2.7 kWh, you’re getting a power density of $0.93/Wh, which is highly competitive. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a simple, and perfectly green solution to your yacht tender power problem, the Torqeedo outboards, powered by this new high power-density and cost-effective battery, are something you should consider.
ProMariner was showing a new battery management device, the ProNautic P Series. If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art charging system that will be able to handle the batteries you currently have, as well as the Lithium-Ion batteries you know you will eventually have, take a look at this series. It’ll handle just about any typical marine power input and then the sophisticated software and digital conversion and management features will lovingly feed and caress your batteries, ensuring that they are charged, and even conditioned, perfectly. They’ve got nice digital displays that tell you simply whether you have any of the typical faults in your battery configuration, like wiring and polarity problems. These are great examples of high-tech at affordable prices ($199 to $699 depending on the unit). In fact, this unit won the award for most innovative new product in the electrical equipment category at this week’s IBEX show.
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