View Full Version : Electric Outboards in West Marine Catalog

03-07-2007, 08:16 PM
I got a spring catalog from West Marine today. It had a couple of interesting electric outboards in it.

Anybody have any experience using electric motors to move small cruiser sized boats (say 2500 lbs or so)?


03-07-2007, 09:28 PM
haven't seen it.....how many donkey power, rpm and prop size/pitch??

03-07-2007, 10:41 PM
There are plenty of threads on this forum about electric motors.

I'll talk about mine.

I have a Minn Kota Endura 55 pushing an Elver 20' sailboat weighing around 1500 lbs loaded. It runs on one 12v car battery. It runs at full power for maybe 30 minutes.

Hopefully this can give you an idea as a data point to extrapolate from.

There's a couple of problems with my setup though.
1) This particular model evidently uses "speed coils" which actually are resistors. At low speed settings much of the electricity is dumped by the speed coils as heat. Thus I don't get quite the range I'd expect.

2) 55 lbs thrust is just barely adequate for this size of boat. It will get the boat going at about 2 or 3 knots. It takes a minute or so to get going that fast though. But it's enough to push the Elver through 10 knots of wind with low chop.

3) The battery seems to "get tired" quickly pushing out around 55 amps. This really becomes obvious if I'm 1/2 mile from the dock and no wind. It was sold as a trolling motor battery but I wonder if in fact it was a starting battery or actually a cross between a starting battery and a deep cycle battery. The rule of thumb is 1 amp per pound of thrust at 12v.

I will soon upgrade to an 80 lb thrust 24v trolling motor (Minn Kota RT80 stern mount) with two batteries. I will make sure these are high quality deep cycle. Also this new trolling motor will have a pulsed power supply. This should push me along fine for a while or give extra punch when I need it. I estimate I will get 3 or 4 times the range with this.

03-07-2007, 10:55 PM
I believe this what Bob is asking about. Says it has 121 lbs. thrust, 2000 watts input, 24 volts. 12 X 10 prop.


George Ray
03-07-2007, 11:49 PM

Quiet, compact and green: Torqueedo motors, exclusively from West Marine

Torqeedo's electric motors redefine mobility with simple charging, light weight, foldable design, no-maintenance ease and safe, low-voltage working range that eliminates the danger of explosion or shock. A rechargeable lithium-manganese high-performance battery connects to the head of the motor, eliminating the need for heavy batteries and cumbersome connections. It is easy to charge with the included 110V AC charger and lasts up to two hours depending on conditions and energy demand. The whole unit, with battery and motor, weighs in at only 26.9lb., one of the lightest electric motors on the market. Due to its unique folding mechanism, the Travel breaks down quickly to pack into the included waterproof carry bag for easy storage. A perfect choice for smaller boats including tenders, dinghies and daysailors. You can place the stowed motor in a lazarette, forward to help with weight distribution during sailing, or easily carry it ashore for stowing. Features an integrated battery level indicator, a continuously forward and reverse drive, adjustable shaft height and variable, telescopic tiller. Replacement battery and propeller are available below.

* Input Power Watts, 800; Volts: 29.6
* Output Power Watts: 350W
* Static Thrust: 33kf = 72.6lb.
* Integrated Battery: 300 Wh
* LIMA Battery Life: Up to two hours
* Prop Size: 12 x 10
* Steering Type: Telescoping twist tiller
* Gearing: F-R continuous, variable
* Weight: 26.9lb

03-07-2007, 11:49 PM
Yes, that's the bigger of the two. Catalog says it has the thrust of a 6 hp gas engine.

The other one has a built-in lithium-manganese battery, 2 hours on a charge, total weight 30 lbs, thrust of 72 lbs.

They both have what looks to be serious 3 bladed propellors, 12x10.

Willmarsh, your experiences are the kind of info I need. Thanks.


George Ray
03-07-2007, 11:51 PM
Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 electric has the power of a 6 horsepower outboard!

With the thrust force of a 6hp combustion engine, the Torqeedo Cruise is the emission-free alternative for sailing and motorboats with displacement of up to three tons. Equipped with the latest torque technology and optimized drive line, the Torqeedo Cruise is not only the most efficient, but also the most powerful 24V motor available. Features a streamline-shaped shaft, variable telescopic tiller, integrated voltmeter, continuously variable forward/reverse drive, interface for remote steering and remote throttle and a gas-spring tilting device.

* Input Power in Watts: 2,000W, 24 Volts
* Output Power: 900W
* Static Thrust: 55kf. = 121lb.
* Propeller Size: 12 x 10
* Control: Rudder/Tiller/remote control
* Gearing: F-R, continuously variable

George Ray
03-08-2007, 12:00 AM
Has lots of engineering geek speak...

03-08-2007, 09:46 AM
Are these the same (or similar) to the ones that have been offered in Europe for the past few years?

Sure would like to hear from someone with actual experience with the product, and how they compare to the larger Minn Kota motors....

03-08-2007, 10:10 AM
Are these the same (or similar) to the ones that have been offered in Europe for the past few years?

I'd think so. They're made in Germany by Starnberg according to the catalog.

03-08-2007, 03:01 PM
A recent edition of Classic Boat covered electric propulsion, and I'll guess that something close to this product was reviewed there...I'll try to check, or maybe one of our UK members can chime in??

03-08-2007, 03:21 PM
pls excuse my extreme electrical ignorance here but if one of these was left in a motor well, would/could it re-charge the battery while under sail?

Uncle Duke
03-08-2007, 03:47 PM
would/could it re-charge the battery while under sail?
Darned interesting question, and I look forward to the answer. I know that the (big boat, wicked expensive) Solomons Technologies electric drives will do that. In fact they will do something even neater: they will supply drive 'oomph' going up a wave, and instantly go into recharge mode going down. Cute feature.
That's probably too much to ask from an electric outboard, but the recharge capability would be a valuable feature.

03-08-2007, 05:13 PM
In a word, no.

That's what windvanes are for.

03-08-2007, 05:32 PM
I can tell you that the Minn Kota motors don't generate under sail.

These Torqeedo outboards are quite an advancement over what I have seen, particularly the Li-ion batteries. But I don't see any word of generation. The input wattage suggests that they can recharge more quickly than discharge and thus make good use of a generator. Perhaps that and/or extra battery packs with the Cruise 2.0 would be the best choice.

Ron Williamson
03-08-2007, 09:16 PM
Stright-McKay in Nova Scotia sells them.
They may have better hands-on than Waste Marine.
I saw some at the Toronto Boat Show and they looked to be decent units,but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

03-09-2007, 09:10 AM
Also check out the Briggs & Strattton 3 hp electric OB. It now is based on a brushless DC (really its a 3 ph AC motor with the wave forms generated by a sophisticated controller powered by a 48v battery bank). The B&S is about $1600.

BTW don't get too sucked in by electric motor "equivalent" hp figures. The model 2000 above with the power of a 6hp ICE is getting 2.7 hp from the battery. Electric drive is different because torque is independent of rpm.

The real world determinant of power isn't the motor anyway, its the amount of batteries you can afford in the sense of cost, weight and volume.

A useful electric power notion is: Imagine you can have any engine in your boat you want but can only get one gallon of gas per day and the gas tank weighs 500 pounds. Designs optimized for that constraint make practical electric boats. Ballasted sailboats that don't need too much range under power and/or can generate their own power are good candidates. So are power boats designed 100 years ago when ICE were in their infancy and had very low power and great weight.

The demand for electric cars is driving lots of technology advances in batteries. That litttle Torqeedo has a built in Lithium Ion battery for instance.

03-09-2007, 11:01 AM
I agree with denny, basically a overhyped trolling motor.
742 watts is one horse, and 75 lbs of thrust in a trolling motor is roughly equivalent to one horse. Minn kota makes trolling motors that have over 150 lbs of thrust. And you can add all the batteries to the system you want. With a little lithium battery built in, this is going to have a small running time.
Besides briggs and stratton electric outboards, ray electric makes a 5 horse outboard and elco makes electric outboards as well.
It all depends on how many batteries you can carry.
But with a all in one unit, it is another advancement in the electric boat world.

03-09-2007, 11:34 AM
"would/could it re-charge the battery while under sail?" IMHO I think a better short answer is YES... Using solar panels, you can recharge trolling motors, etc. It takes quite a while for a 12v battery but with enought panels it is very feasible. Go to Google and type in Solor panels and see what's out there...

03-09-2007, 11:54 AM
We used a Minn Kota 55 on Lake Tahoe as a back up. I ran it once for about 4 hours on a deep cycle battery. (My wife still thinks that you have to get somewhere sailing). The boat was 20' and 1800lb. Our problem was tying to use it on the bay. Just sitting in the boat, the salt air corroded the attachmen screws and anything else that was aluminum. Some of those fancy motors might not have that problem. The motor could no longer be attatched or detached. I should have also sprayed the battery attachments with oil. They were soon gonners.

03-09-2007, 12:10 PM
I have said before in other posts that we now use an electric motor (trolling) on our boat.14 ft runabout that of course wasnt designed to cruise as slow as we do now.
BUT we can cruise all day (but not fast) on one battery.I carry 3 just in case but have never had to switch batteries on an outing to this point.
I converted our set up so I didnt have to leave the drivers seat and can control and steer the boat as if I had a "real" motor on it.
We find it very relaxing if your not in a hurry to get where your going, and I'm usually not in a hurry to get anywhere.
We have only had one problem with running out of "fuel" and that was my fault back during our experimenting stage.
I now make sure we have full charges on all batteries and we can go out and confidently cruise all day long without any worries,or fuel smells, fuel costs, or noise.Boating for us is about relaxing, not how fast we can get from point "A" to point "B".

03-09-2007, 07:29 PM
In a word, no.

That's what windvanes are for.

So they're not "water vanes" ?

I thought if you spun any electric motor thats not plugged into a power source, it would generate electricity.

I also thought I saw some where something you dragged behind your boat at the end of a cable that did this.

Tom Robb
03-10-2007, 03:55 PM
Until and unless someone invents a really handy (portable, simple and cheap like gasoline) electric power source like Mr. Fusion from the Back to Future ll movie, for boats, electric propulsion will remain sort of on the fringes - interesting but not main stream. I hope they hurry. Gas is going up again.

03-12-2007, 10:37 AM
I like the idea of turning on the switch and the motor goes. I use the 2hp Honda to get away from the dock, about 150 Meters out into the middle of the lake. Hoist the sails then tilt the motor up out of the water for two or three hours.

Then when I want to go back in, after it has been tilted up for a while, I sometimes flood it. Rarely do I get it going long enough to really warm it up.
so maybe this electric outboard is the trick for me. Plus an extra battery or course.

Also nice if I want to drop sails and coast slowly by the bird rookery to watch the terns and the egrets and so forth with making noise.

03-14-2007, 09:36 PM
Jimmy, that's a perfect application for a trolling motor. You might even mount the motor on your rudder and have it totally hidden.


03-15-2007, 07:54 PM
I thought if you spun any electric motor thats not plugged into a power source, it would generate electricity.

A simple motor with permanent magnets will do this -- I think that beyond that, all bets are off.

Of course, you would expect the manufacturer of this outboard to build it to regenerate, just as electric cars charge their batteries when decelerating or running down hills. It would make lots of sense for a sailboat, since the running time under sail is somewhat more, one hopes, than time spent under power. A small generator for backup would round out the package.

03-15-2007, 08:04 PM
Serious thread drift, but yes someone is building (and selling lots of them) boats with electric motors that regenerate.

Better start saving your Euros though


03-18-2007, 03:01 PM
And that Lagoon is a perfect example of how silly the notion can soon become. The premium for the electronic wizardry on the boat is somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000, best I can tell. (The manufacturer must be really gouging.) That would buy diesel to run a half-dozen conventionally powered boats like that for their useful lives.

08-12-2007, 11:39 AM
So, did you buy an electric motor? If so, what has been your experience.

08-12-2007, 02:01 PM
Someone just mentioned purchasing a Torqeedo outboard over on the "Electric Boats" yahoo group. They said they were going to perform real world tests to see how it compared to the advertising claims.