Passage Maker - - Contents -

Most boaters know Torqeedo, the elec­tric out­board man­u­fac­turer that made a splashy in­tro­duc­tion over 12 years ago. There hasn’t been much com­pe­ti­tion for Torqueedo ... un­til now, at least.

A team of four en­gi­neers from Hong Kong Uni­ver­sity de­signed a se­ries of elec­tric out­boards and founded their own com­pany called ePropul­sion. The brand has gained trac­tion in Europe and Asia, but un­til re­cently, had no rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the United States. Four Seas Ma­rine, a com­pany based in Santa Ana, Cal­i­for­nia, has stepped up to be­come the sole U.S. im­porter for the out­board line, whose prod­ucts in­cludes mo­tors for every­thing from stand up pad­dle­boards to 10 horse­power (equiv­a­lent) mo­tors for sail­boats and small craft.

The “Spirit” model lands squarely in ePropul­sion’s mid­dle range, and is the most likely can­di­date to power a trawler’s ten­der. Spirit matches an equiv­a­lent 3-4 horse­power gas com­bus­tion en­gine, and is priced at $1,799 for the short-shafted model. Like Torqeedo, the mo­tor in­cludes a re­mov­able tiller and bat­tery, mak­ing stowage a snap. At 21 pounds plus 19 pounds for the bat­tery, the to­tal as­sem­bled weight is still 14 pounds lighter than a com­pa­ra­ble 4-stroke gas out­board. The other dif­fer­ence — and it’s a big one — is that the weight of the gas en­gine is fixed, whereas with the re­mov­able 1018Wh Lithium poly­mer bat­tery, the weight is eas­ily halved into sep­a­rate carry bags. Oh, and un­like Torqeedo, the bat­tery floats if it is ac­ci­den­tally dropped.

As for other dif­fer­ences, ePropul­sion mo­tors are silent op­er­a­tors with no per­cep­ti­ble whine as you in­crease thrust, and are gen­er­ally a few hun­dred dol­lars lighter on the old pock­et­book.

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