electric motor

Take the Poll — What’s the Ideal Tender Outboard?

A Maritime Engineering Group Vision Diesel Outboard

A Maritime Engineering Group Vision Diesel Outboard

Yanmar D-Series Diesel Outboard

Yanmar D-Series Diesel Outboard

If you could have the perfect outboard for your dinghy or tender, what would it be?  A diesel perhaps, because you’re already carrying hundreds or thousands of gallons of that fuel and because looking for and storing gasoline is such a pain in the neck, not to mention dangerous? I’ve long thought, for example, that Evinrude could probably make a small killing by adapting its current universal-fuel outboard for regular diesel use. It would probably get a little heavier, but since most of us are using a davit or crane of some kind already, that might not be a big problem. Size is probably the biggest current issue for small diesel outboards. Most engineering efforts, such as the Marine Engineering Group outboard in the top photo, have focused on larger, high-power units so far. But there are 20- and 30 hp diesels out there that might be adaptable. The second image is of the old Yanmar D Series, which I don’t believe is available anymore.

Marine Green Co-Founders Bill Parlatore and Howard Brooks test an early propane-powered outboard

Marine Green Co-Founders Bill Parlatore and Howard Brooks test an early propane-powered outboard

What about a propane-powered outboard? There’s at least one in development that looks promising and if you’re tanking propane for stoves or barbecue grills, it wouldn’t be much of an inconvenience to use that for the dinghy, too.

Yamaha's Current 2.5 hp Gas 4-stroke Outboard

Yamaha's Current 2.5 hp Gas 4-stroke Outboard

Maybe you just want whatever is cheapest because you don’t use it enough to justify any real investment. You just want something cheap and reliable. That’s probably a two- or four-stroke gas outboard, which is relatively inexpensive and (mostly) reliable.

New Torqeedo Travel 1003 Electric Outboard

New Torqeedo Travel 1003 Electric Outboard

What about an electric outboard? Like the Torqeedo or something similar?  Lots of benefits there — low noise, zero pollution, great acceleration, and plenty of fuel since most cruisers and passagemakers have copious electrical generating capacity. Okay, some sailboats don’t and maybe for them electric isn’t a viable option.  The downside to electric? Somewhat limited range, depending on what kind of performance you require (fast or slow). Read about Torqeedo’s outboards here and here.

Whatever your thoughts are, we’d like to hear about them.  Please take just a few seconds to take the poll on our front page (lower right section, you may have to scroll down a bit). We’ll do a follow-up with the results, although you can see the results any time you’d like by clicking on the link at the bottom of the survey.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Engines, Gear & Apparel, Powerboats, Sailboats, Technology

New Torqeedo Might Be The Green Go for Your Dinghy

New Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R Electric Motor Has High Thrust and Efficiency

New Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R Electric Motor Has High Thrust and Efficiency

Torqeedo, the German company that produces those cool, skinny electric outboard motors has introduced a new model — the Cruise 4.0 R — that has the power to realistically be considered a replacement for the gas-powered outboard on your dinghy.  And it does so with an overall efficiency of more than 50%, which is at least an order of magnitude greater than other electric motors, and much higher than any gasoline outboard.

The Cruise runs on 48 volts and offers 215 pounds of thrust, roughly equivalent to a 9.9hp gas outboard.  The Cruise 4.0 R is designed specifically for remote steering and throttle.  The throttle mount includes an LCD display that shows remaining battery charge, current speed and range remaining at current speed, as well as input power in watts.  The motor’s onboard computer includes its own GPS receiver, which enables the speed and range calculations.

The Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R addresses one of the principal shortcomings of electric motors as primary propulsion on boats, which is the short range and time of operation due to limited battery capacity and relatively low efficiency.  With its significantly higher efficiency, and with a power output that should be sufficient to get a typical 10 or 11-foot dinghy to speed with a full load, it can truly be considered a potential replacement for the gas motor.

Another potential advantage not cited by Torqeedo might be the ability to eliminate the carriage of gasoline for the tender.  All trawlers and passagemaking boats on the water have sufficient electricity generation capabilities to keep the Torqeedo’s batteries charged.  And with no mess or the inherent danger of gasoline storage and management, it offers a safety enhancement.  The motor operates on lead-gel or AGM batteries, or a set of two high-performance lithium-manganese batteries available from Torqeedo. 

The motor is not cheap, with a suggested retail price of $3,699, but the extra thousand or so compared to a gas outboard motor might be more than made up by the economy, efficiency and safety of operation.

Copyright ©  2008 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Industry News, Technology