VOLTS & AMPS = AD­VEN­TURE

In the au­to­mo­tive world, elec­tric propul­sion is the fu­ture. But what about ma­rine?

Boating NZ - - Feature - WORDS AND PHO­TOS BY JOHN EICHELSHEIM AD­DI­TIONAL PHO­TOG­RA­PHY SUP­PLIED

There are sev­eral good ex­am­ples of fully-elec­tric or hy­brid boats, some of which we’ve re­viewed for this mag­a­zine. But what’s dif­fer­ent about Torqeedo, the Ger­man man­u­fac­turer of elec­tric boat drives, is the range of power op­tions it of­fers, from ul­tra­light 1hp mo­tors for kayaks right through to 80hp mod­els (soon to be 200hp).

Torqeedo man­u­fac­tures a range of in­board and out­board elec­tric en­gines, some with hy­brid op­tions and some of them por­ta­ble. It also man­u­fac­tures high-qual­ity bat­ter­ies, so can of­fer com­plete propul­sion pack­ages.

The range starts with the Ul­tra­light, a com­pact but pow­er­ful elec­tric mo­tor weigh­ing less than 9kg, in­clud­ing its high-per­for­mance 915 or 320Wh (watthours) lithium bat­tery. Power from the Ul­tra­light 403 is equiv­a­lent to a 1hp in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine, de­liv­er­ing speeds up to 10kph and a max­i­mum range of 40km at lower speeds.

The Ul­tra­light is ideal for ex­pe­di­tion and fish­ing kayaks, since its steer­ing, tilt­ing and auto kick-up

fea­tures in­te­grate with the kayak’s ex­ist­ing steer­ing sys­tem. It comes with a re­mote throt­tle con­trol, on-board com­puter, Gps-based range cal­cu­la­tor and bat­tery charger. Spare bat­ter­ies and a 45-watt so­lar charger are avail­able and Torqeedo’s Torq Trac app dis­plays in­ter­ac­tive range in­for­ma­tion straight to your smart­phone.

Next up in terms of size is the Torqeedo Travel, a clean al­ter­na­tive to por­ta­ble petrol out­boards. With the Travel there’s no need to carry fuel, no starter cord to pull, no noise or fumes and no stor­age is­sues. The Travel weighs just 9kg with­out the bat­tery (14kg with bat­tery), so it’s easy to carry, and fea­tures tools-free mount­ing. Bat­ter­ies slot in to the top of the mo­tor where the pow­er­head would be in a petrol out­board – the mo­tor is in the lower unit is where the gear hous­ing would be.

The Travel comes in two mod­els, equiv­a­lent to 1.5hp and 3hp, ca­pa­ble of pro­pel­ling ves­sels up to 750kg and 1.5 tonnes re­spec­tively, and in two shaft lengths. Range is up to 35km at 5.5kph, de­pend­ing on ves­sel weight and bat­tery size (530 or 915Wh), while charg­ing op­tions in­clude do­mes­tic power sock­ets, 12-volt con­nec­tion or a so­lar charger. A USB out­let will charge de­vices from the bat­tery.

Like the rest of the Torqeedo range, the Travel fea­tures an on­board com­puter dis­play­ing range and per­for­mance data, which can also be ac­cessed on your smart phone via the Torq Trac app.

Torqeedo’s Cruise range en­com­passes three out­board mod­els and three

Charg­ing op­tions in­clude do­mes­tic power, 12V out­lets and so­lar.

pod drives: 2.0 (5hp), 4.0 (8hp) and 10.0 (20hp), driv­ing ves­sels rang­ing from 3 tonnes (2.0) to 10 tonnes (10.0). The F.P. pod drives are suit­able for sail­ing yachts.

The smaller Cruise out­board mod­els come in two shaft lengths while the 10.0 is avail­able in three. Man­ual tilt is stan­dard on the smaller out­boards; the 48-volt 10.0 has elec­tric tilt and re­mote throt­tle – a tiller throt­tle is com­ing. The smaller Cruise mod­els are tiller or re­mote con­trol.

Cruise mo­tors can op­er­ate with mod­ern lithium, AGM or lead-acid bat­ter­ies, but Torqeedo’s Power 48-5000 and Power 26-104 bat­ter­ies have been specif­i­cally de­vel­oped for these en­gines and pro­vide su­pe­rior per­for­mance.

Fur­ther up­ping the power stakes, Torqeedo’s Deep Blue out­board and in­board propul­sion range en­com­passes 40 and 80hp mod­els (200hp com­ing soon), as well as a 40hp sail-drive. Hy­brid pack­ages are avail­able and Deep Blue is com­pat­i­ble with hy­dro-gen­er­a­tion.

Deep Blue op­er­ates on a 360-volt sys­tem and Bmw-de­signed I3 and I8 bat­ter­ies, as used in the BMW’S elec­tric ve­hi­cles, are op­tional. A nine-year war­ranty is of­fered with these bat­ter­ies.

Torqeedo Cruise and Deep Blue mod­els of­fer the same GPSbased on­board com­puter, Torq Trac app and charg­ing op­tions as the rest of the range.

DEMO DAY

Power Equip­ment is the Torqeedo agent in New Zealand and Aus­tralia. At a re­cent demon­stra­tion in Auck­land, Boat­ing NZ had the op­por­tu­nity to try a range of prod­ucts on the wa­ter.

The mo­tors demon­strated in­cluded the Ul­tra­light kayak mo­tor, Travel 1003 and Cruise 2.0 and 4.0 mod­els. The mo­tors were used to power a small kayak, a pair of in­flat­able dinghies, a Smart­wave PVC run­about and a Craig­cat pon­toon cata­ma­ran.

Im­pres­sions across the range in­clude in­stant throt­tle re­sponse and quiet op­er­a­tion. The con­ve­nience of the Travel mod­els shouldn’t be un­der­stated ei­ther.

Per­for­mance is com­pa­ra­ble to petrol en­gines of sim­i­lar power, but with­out the noise and fumes. We quickly learned to open the elec­tronic throt­tle con­trol slowly to avoid an

un­ex­pect­edly firm shove in the back – max­i­mum torque is avail­able the mo­ment any throt­tle is ap­plied.

On­board com­put­ers keep you ap­praised of speed, power use as a per­cent­age of max­i­mum out­put, real time range and bat­tery sta­tus. The data is easy to in­ter­pret, though the dis­plays are a lit­tle dif­fi­cult to see in bright sun­light.

As with elec­tric ve­hi­cles, some boaters may suf­fer range-anx­i­ety, but Torqeedo propul­sion sys­tems of­fer very re­al­is­tic run times with de­cent range pro­vided op­er­a­tors keep a lid on throt­tle set­tings. Run the mo­tors at full throt­tle and you’ll ex­haust the bat­ter­ies in a fairly short time, but at more mod­est loads, bat­tery life is ex­cel­lent. This is es­pe­cially so if you opt for more ex­pen­sive high-qual­ity, light­weight lithium bat­ter­ies.

For the mod­els we tried, in most ap­pli­ca­tions six hours run time is achiev­able on one charge. That’s longer than most peo­ple would run their boat en­gines dur­ing the course of a day’s boat­ing. BNZ

RIGHT The Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 is equiv­a­lent to a 5hp petrol out­board.ABOVE & LEFT Fit­ted to a Craig­cat poly­eth­yl­ene cata­ma­ran, the Cruise 4.0 eas­ily man­aged a crew of two.

RIGHT A staff mem­ber demon­strates the Torqeedo Travel in for­wards and re­verse.

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