Should you mix water and electricity?
Why electric yachts are perfect for leisure boaters
Like automobiles on the road, electric motors in watercrafts are slowly gaining momentum. The concept isn’t new and has been floating around for many years, and with every step taken in electric technology, electric yachts get better and better. So, are these boats the – dare we say it – future of yachting?
Boats can be fully electric, or run on a hybrid system. As the name says, the former rely on only electricity from batteries to run its motors, while the latter may use a combination of ways to propel the craft like wind, fuel, and also electricity. Sometimes, an internal combustion engine is also used to power the electric motor that ultimately propels the craft.
Leisure boating is ultimately all about the experience, and the main advantage of utilising a full electric or a hybrid system is a quiet journey without the smell of fumes. On top of that, there is no risk of fuel spillage, and as most fires on board are due to fuel fumes or carelessness, it is safer as well.
Converting smaller crafts with electric motors are also a relatively simple procedure, unlike doing so in cars, and so it is an increasingly popular replacement for aging fuel outboard motors. And as these craft are usually smaller, supplementary power sources like wind are also used whenever it is needed.
Modern and larger pure electric crafts however, employ a slew of systems to make sure there’s always juice for the motor. These yachts almost always have solar panels on board to keep the batteries topped up, and out at sea, light is a plentiful resource. They also usually have fuel generators to generate electricity for the motor, but they are a secondary system put in place to ensure that the yacht never runs out of power.
Electric car owners call it ‘range anxiety’, but out on water running out of power is even more serious. On land, the range of an electric car is somewhat predictable, but at sea the changes in weather and water currents, not to mention wave behaviour all make for an unpredictable range, hence the need for secondary systems to keep the power flowing.
What’s more, the infrastructure to charge batteries while boats are docked is still lacking, and it will take a concerted, determined effort by governments and boat owners to create a better ecosystem for electric boats.
So are electric yachts worth your time? Are they the future of pleasure boating? The answer really depends on your needs. For longer adventures, a bigger craft is needed and so the noise of the engine and the resulting fumes will not affect boaters much. For smaller craft that may spend their life plying seas near their home ports, it becomes a very serious consideration. In either scenario, electrification adds a lot of benefits, with not many downsides.
Finally, unlike the common complaint against electric cars, boats with electric motors loses none of its ‘drivability’ and are still very much a pleasure to pilot. Get in touch with us should you wish to find out more.