With my recent looks at the Alerion / Mastervolt all electric project I'm starting to think about the application for all electric power on boats more seriously. The concept of nearly silent, fume free propulsion has always intrigued me and this week I had the pleasure of looking at yet another alternative first hand here in Halifax, NS where I've been conducting an ABYC Electrical certification course for the Nova Scotia Boatbuilders Association. Last evening I had the pleasure of having dinner with one of the class participants, Jim Newell who's also one of the principles in a company called Electric Yacht. I got a chance to see Jim's product, an all electric drive that is a really light weight (under 100 lbs.) that he's planning to install as a replacement for the ancient gasoline fueled four cylinder Palmer engine on his 27 ft. Bristol sailboat later this spring.
The complete system, minus battery power is shown here:
This unit will easily bolt into older boats with Atomic Fours, Palmer gas engines or ancient diesels and the retrofit is really, really cost competitive! The entire system is pre-engineered based on your boat's displacement, gear reduction and such, and is completely plug and play. All you really need to determine is how much battery capacity you'll need to give you the range you'll require for your situation.
The system is much more compact than an equivalent fossil fueled engine and remember, its silent, with no fumes to contend with, either diesel, or more dangerous carbon monoxide rich gasoline exhaust. It's got its own system monitor so you'll always be aware of how much run time you have left and therefore can manage your motoring sessions accordingly.
Look for a follow-up here once Jim gets his install completed and we have more data on actual run time in real world conditions.
To find out more about Electric Yacht, check out the website at: www.electricyacht.ca and look for more posts on this project from me as it evolves. I'm getting more interested in the full electric concept vs. the hybrids we've all been hearing about over the last several years, which to my mind just don't really cut it. Still having a fossil fueled engine that makes noise, and really short electric run times, with no proven efficiency gains is getting to be old news. With this set up, or the Alerion, look at it this way, all that space that you used to use for a fuel tank can now be filled with batteries to run your electric motor system. Dependant on battery cycle life and actual run time (range), we may be on to something meaningful here.