CONSIDERING AN ELECTRIC BOAT
How long is your extension cord?
A Discussion of the Pros & Cons
I will begin with the disadvantages, mainly because there
are fewer and it is best to deal with them first.
1. Your travel is limited to a certain
distance, governed by the capacity of your battery bank. While
this bank can be recharged, this is not as quick a procedure
as gassing up a tank.
2. Your speed will be lower than with a high
powered gas motor.
3. Total weight of the power package will
be higher than with an equivalent gas package.
4. Initial purchase price will be about 30%-50%
higher than an equivalent gas package.
I will now argue the disadvantages, and then go to the
1. Chances are that with a properly sized
battery bank, you will have more range than you would use in
a day. The batteries can be charged overnight and you are ready
to go the next day. With the built in charger, the heaviest thing
you will have to deal with is an extension cord. No heavy gas
tanks, smelly or flammable gas to spill over you, your boat,
or into the lake, no oil and gas to worry about mixing properly,
and no trips to the marina or gas station, because for most electricity
is right at their cottage.
2. After rushing around all week, maybe slowing
down and really seeing the beauty all around you isn't all that
bad. Getting there can be half the fun.
3. None of your individual components weigh
more than with a gas system. The battery bank is where most of
the weight is. These can be removed, when necessary,
one at a time, and need only be taken out for winter storage.
In a properly designed boat, the weight can be put to good use
to enhance stability, like ballast in a sailboat, and smooth
the ride in rough water.
4. Yes the initial cost is more, but let's
examine it over the life cycle of the batteries. We will assume
that the batteries have been looked after well, but not really
well and say that you get 650 cycles. Manufacturers say that
in the demanding golf cart rental business, customers should
expect up to 1000 cycles before performance drops off. We will
use a name brand 15-hp two-stroke outboard with electric start
as a comparison. We will use current energy costs as our basis
Ray model 300 48 volt electric with 8 batteries, charger and
15 HP outboard with starter, battery, fuel tank, and
650 cycles at about 60 km.=39000 km.
650 charges of 230 AH x 48V= 11040 Watts or 11.04 Kilowatt Hours
11.04 Kwh. X $.0804 equals about $.89 per charge
39000 km. At 4 km. /litre = 9750 litres @ 59.9 cents/litre
2 stroke oil
about $ 3 per tank
8 at $ 35.
This chart doesn't include repairs. An electric
motor such as the Ray has only one moving part. The gas motor
has many more. If you used it enough to go through more sets
of batteries, the savings would be even more significant. A bank
of batteries and their charging costs amount to about 20% of
the fuel costs alone, for a gas motor.
1. Quiet. In fact almost silent. Think how much more wildlife
you will see if you don't frighten it. Your neighbours will also
appreciate this silence and you won't have to worry about them
hearing you when you are trying to be heard above the exhaust
2. Maintenance. Very few moving parts, cool running, and
no tune ups, carburetors, cooling fluids, plugs to foul, or starting
3. Safe. With no gasoline in the boat, you are quite simply
in a much safer environment. There is no danger of shock from
the low voltage direct current that these boats operate on.
4. Our Environment. This is the most important advantage
of the boats. Arguments can be made that the pollution is happening
elsewhere, and to a certain extent this is true, (If you want
to be totally clean, solar chargers are available, and the price
is quite reasonable, which can replenish your battery bank.)
but it is so much less than with any other form of powered transportation
that this is still the cleanest way, short of the paddle, to
move a boat. Enough cannot be said about the importance of this,
but I will give a few examples. Batteries are now almost 100%
recyclable. Electric boats don't go fast enough to disturb fragile
shorelines, annoy others, or injure flora and fauna. They don't
smoke, stink, or put petroleum into the water and endanger that
precious interface between air and water that is the basis for
life on this planet. In short they are so great that I don't
know why everybody doesn't have one.
Michael & Susan Butz
3503 Glamorgan Rd
3503 Glamorgan Rd
Take Hwy. 118 East from Haliburton,south on Glamorgan Rd (Cty.
Rd. 3), 4 km to #3503
Open year round by appointment.