In a world where marine vehicles are dominated by diesel engines and sail powers, electric boats have been slowly catching up and becoming a popular choice, NOT! Generally, they have the same design as boats that use diesel engines. The main difference is just the power source. People still preferred traditional vessels simply because of their larger power capacity. In fact, battery capacity is one of the major bottlenecks of electric boats.
Although electric boats sound cool and futuristic, they have their shares of ups and downs. There is even a time when people are thinking of abandoning that technology. Fortunately, due to emission and climate change problems, electric boats may find their place in the world yet again. There are also some interesting facts that you probably won’t know. If you want to learn more about electric boats and their trivia, please stay with us!
1. Just Like Electric Cars, Electric Boats Have Been Here for a Very Long Time
Vehicles that use electronics as part of their primary powering system seem like something made out for science-fiction novels. However, it is interesting to note that electric boats have already been around for a long time. In fact, it was Moritz von Jacobi who invented the first electric boat in the late 1830s. His early prototype sailed the Neva River. It was able to carry 14 passengers upstream for 7.5 km.
Although Moritz von Jacobi had successfully invented a new technology, safe and practical motorboating didn’t begin until the 1833 Chicago World’s Fair, where 55 electric ferries entered. In its early inception, electric boats were quite popular. The period from 1880 to 1920 was the golden age of electric boats.
2. After the Golden Age, Electric Boats Suffered a Downfall
After enjoying the golden age of electric boats, people are slowly abandoning the idea of having them. The primary reason is because of the introduction of gasoline-powered outboard motors.
This new alternative offers a better riding experience. Besides that, gasoline can power a boat to run much longer than a battery. Currently, electric boats aren’t even in the minds of most boat enthusiasts. Out of all the crafts out there in the sea, less than two percent of them integrate electric or hybrid propulsion.
3. This Technology is Still Used for Submarines
Although electric boats have begun to decline commercially, they are still beneficial for military organizations worldwide. Since the first electrical submarine, the Spanish Peral Submarine, came out in 1888, the technology has significantly improved. The core principle behind it is still relevant even today.
Currently, most submarines combine fuels and electric propulsion to power the engine. The electricity is usually generated by a nuclear reactor located somewhere inside the submarine. One notable example is the stealthy SMX31E from France. It used electric propulsion that enabled the sub to be extra sneaky.
4. Are Electric Boats Environmentally Friendly?
One of the main reasons behind electric boats’ perseverance, despite their limited interest, is the notion that it provides an eco-friendly sailing experience. Contrary to the norm, gasoline-powered ships that cause a lot of water pollution, electric boats won’t have that same problem. Electric boats can run off with clean and green energy. Besides that, they also have zero emissions-propulsion.
The fact that electric boats are environmentally-friendly is undoubtedly a breath of fresh air for people. In fact, there are some areas where only electric boats have permission to operate. One of the examples is the Konigssee lake, located in south-eastern Germany.
Moreover, electric boats are generally more silent, reducing the chance of disturbing maritime lives around the area.
5. Vision Marine Technologies: Owner of the World’s Fastest Electric Boat Motor
When we’re talking about vehicles, it’s only natural to wonder about the fastest product around. Well, you shouldn’t worry about that anymore, because we’re here to present that very fact! Dubbed “the future of clean power”, the 180 E-Motion is a high-powered electric boat motor that is able to reach 180 HP.
The world record run took place in November 2021, when Vision Marine teamed up with Hellkats Powerboats in modifying their Hellkats 32’ Super-Sport Widebody Catamaran. Before this record-breaking event, the world’s fastest electric boat title was officially crowned to the Jaguar V20E racing boat. It clocked at a top speed of 88.6 miles per hour.
6. Tesla is Planning to Release an Electric Boat
After conquering the land and space, Tesla is now planning to explore the realms of the sea. At the end of 2017, Tesla has announced the launch of the Model Y, a new project for electric yachts. It is going to have a length of 40 meters, complete with awesome entertainment like a spacious spa and lounge. By 2022, the project is ready to sail the sea! This amazing electric boat is going to cost $700 million for those of you who are interested.
7. Meet the World’s Largest Electric Boat!
Many people are passing up the opportunity to have an electric boat because of its limited power capacity. But they probably haven’t heard about a fully-operating electric boat (or, dare we say ship) with a size of about 100 meters long. Say hello to the largest electric cruise ship, the Yangtze River Three Gorges 1!
The Yangtze River Three Gorges 1 was developed by China Yangtze Power, and it is reported to cost up to $23.66 million. This awesome electric ship is able to carry up to 1,300 passengers at a time. The batteries needed to power the boat are said to be around 7,500 kWh.
8. Longest Distance Covered by an Electric Boat
Most electric boats aren’t durable. They won’t be a good choice if you’re looking to go on a long trip. However, Thames Electric Launch Company with its boat, The Launch Pike, has broken the world record as the electric boat with the greatest distance covered in a single charge.
During a journey done between August 20 and 21, 2001, the electric boat was able to cover a distance of 220.4 km. Back then, they went through the River Thames between Wallingford, Oxon, and Goring, Berks, UK.
9. Racing Competition for Electric Boats Exists
Now, this is a fact that all racing enthusiasts would love to know. Yes, there exists an official racing competition for electric boats, and it is dubbed the E1 Series. This competition is fairly young, seeing that it was launched in 2020.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Alejandro Agag and Rodi Basso were amused by the prospect of having a competition for this type of transportation. And the rest is history! In each race, there will be up to 12 teams that compete in the water for the highest honor that an electric boat racer can have.
10. Flying Electric Boats are Starting Get Noticed Due to Its Ability to “Fly”
Even though electric boats aren’t a popular choice for boat enthusiasts, manufacturers are still trying to create an innovation that can lead to its renaissance. The flying electric boat is an attempt to do just that. One of the most popular models was made by Stockholm-based Candela. These electric boats were renowned for their ability to fly across the surface of the water. It started to gain attention in New Zealand while slowly creeping all around the world!
People are on board with the idea of having flying electric boats. Their ability to fly reduces the risk of polluting the local waters with oil and local emissions. Besides that, the hydrofoils and wings decrease the friction on the water by 80% compared to conventional boats. Furthermore, it has come up as the main solution to save Venice from “sinking” due to the water pollution caused by water taxis and tourist boats.
11. Electric Cars can Be a Good Alternative, and So Must Electric Boats!
Some of the main reasons for the abandoning of electric boats are the fact that they cost a lot, yet they couldn’t generate enough power to travel for a very long time. If manufacturers can find a way to solve this problem, then we’re going to see a huge comeback! In fact, investors are already attracted to that idea. Perhaps, the golden age of electric boats is coming once more!
Michael Jost, former head of group strategy for the Volkswagen Group, also said that the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play a huge part in the buildup of electrical boats. He says that a “smart boat” means that you’re in the cloud, so you can upgrade your software and raise the performance every year”.
12. Electric Boat Manufacturers are Able to Attract Top Celebrities
Pure Watercraft and Arc Boat are just two companies that have the vision to “enable a new era in boating”. The Arc Boat team also consists of former SpaceX engineers, and it has successfully raised $30 million worth of investment from top-notch celebrities like Kevin Durant and Will Smith. This investment will then be used to produce Arc’s first electric boat, the 24-foot Arc One.
Previously, they have promised the people that they were going to be releasing an affordable electric boat with low-cost maintenance, and they’re aiming to deliver that promise. Their first electric boat is said to be priced at $300,000, but it’s just the exception. After the release, they’re planning on making cheaper electric boats that can promote sustainable and eco-friendly sailing experiences for all people to enjoy.
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