Earlier this year I wrote a Wish List item about the advantages of a single, common fuel for all marine engines; the issue being the need to carry gasoline for a tender wile operating an otherwise diesel-powered boat.  There may be another option and that is the one provided by Torqeedo, manufacturer of an innovative line of electric-powered outboards.  The company’s latest offering, the Cruise 4.0 R has a thrust equivalent to a 9.9 hp gas outboard, which makes it a good power match for an inflatable or light RIB up to about 11 feet or so, depending on your need for speed.

Torqeedo Cruis 4.0 R Electric Outboard -- Photo: Torqeedo, Inc.

Torqeedo Cruis 4.0 R Electric Outboard -- Photo: Torqeedo, Inc.

Torqeedo motors utilize a special onboard computer that includes an integral GPS.  This allows the system to display not only speed, but time and distance remaining on available charge.  This information is presented on the remote throttle display.  The motor uses a special 48 volt lead-gel, AGM battery bank or two high-performance lithium manganese batteries.  The company says the Cruise 4.0 R achieves an efficiency of more than 50 percent, which is significantly higher than most electric propulsion motors.

While we think the Cruise 4.0 R is a great alternative for a passagemaker who doesn’t want to deal with finding and carrying good gasoline, Torqeedo also suggests the motor is a good  choice for boats on “green” lakes, pontoon boats, sailboats and catamarans.  In fact, the company tested the new model on a “well-stocked, 24″ pontoon boat with 25″ pontoons and seven people aboard — achieving a speed of 6.1 mph.

The motor is not cheap, with a suggested retail price of $3,699, although it likely has a much more competitive total cost-of-ownership when you consider the cost of gas and oil and the maintenance requirements of reciprocating engines used in salt water.  The Torqeedo unit comes with a cable set, fuse, main switch, remote throttle, magnetic off/on switch and a link-arm for connecting to standard steering systems.

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