Historically, traditional boat motors have been combustion motors, utilizing gasoline or other fossil fuels as their primary source of energy. According to Elco Motor Yachts, electric boat motors have become much more popular. They’re more available and less expensive than ever before, and we’re seeing them used in a wide range of different boats by a diverse assortment of different people.
Should you consider making the switch and buying an electric boat motor?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Advantages of Electric Boat Motors
There are some inherent advantages of electric boat motors over their traditional combustion engine counterparts.
· Similar power capabilities. Some people are afraid of switching to electric because they feel like the boat will have less thrust or less power available. While the logic of this concern is reasonable, modern electric motors are similarly powerful as their combustion counterparts. The most powerful speed boats on the market still rely on combustion power, but for most people, and for most applications, electric motors are perfectly capable.
· Quieter running. If you’ve ever driven a fully electric car, you know they’re almost totally silent. The combustion necessary to drive traditional engines is notoriously noisy, whereas electric motors can run much more smoothly. If you enjoy peaceful, quiet time on the water, this is a huge advantage.
· Environmental friendliness. Electric motors are more environmentally sustainable than their combustion counterparts for a few reasons. First, they’re more efficient, so they use less energy. Second, they last longer, so they produce less waste on average. And third, they result in fewer emissions. If you’re concerned about environmental sustainability, electric motors are the best choice.
· Lower operational costs. As we’ll see, electric motors are more expensive than their counterparts, but over time, they can reduce your operational costs. With less need for maintenance and lower energy expenses over the lifetime of your motor, you’ll end up economically ahead.
· Relatively higher safety. It’s also arguable that electric motors are safer than combustion motors. There are still some risks present, but those risks are relatively low. This is especially important if you plan on taking family members or friends on the water on a regular basis.
· Easier handling. Most boat enthusiasts agree that electric motors allow for easier handling. If you want a smooth, reliable experience driving your boat on the water, an electric motor could be what you need.
· Significant flexibility. These days, electric motors are highly versatile. They’re available as both inboard and outboard motors, and they can be fitted to a wide range of different types of boats. It’s a highly flexible option that can fit with almost any type of boat you imagine.
· Less maintenance required. Electric motor issues can be expensive to deal with, but they tend to be few and far between. Compared to combustion motors, working with an electric motor comes with less maintenance and fewer issues.
· Future proof nature. Already, seven states have committed to banning gas-powered cars in the next couple of decades. Increasingly, lawmakers all over the world are putting pressure on manufacturers and consumers to pursue more sustainable options. If you’re worried that someday gas-powered boats will become outlawed, you can rest assured that your electric boat motor is practically future proof.
Disadvantages of Electric Boat Motors
Of course, there are some disadvantages of electric boat motors that you’ll need to keep in mind as well.
· Higher costs. Over the lifetime of your ownership, an electric motor will be cheaper than a combustion motor. But when it comes to making the initial purchase, the electric motor will almost certainly be more expensive. While they are more efficient, they’re also more expensive to develop, due to being more sophisticated machines. You may or may not have a budget to purchase an electric motor immediately.
· Charging time. It takes time to charge an electric motor. With a combustion engine, you can fill up with gasoline almost immediately and start driving. But if you want a full charge, it could take you several hours – or even a full day.
· Limited range. Even on a full charge, electric motors have relatively limited range. If you’re interested in longer trips, an electric motor may not be the best option for you.
· Battery sustainability. In general, electric motors are more environmentally friendly than their combustion counterparts, but electric batteries do present some sustainability issues. They’re resource-intensive to produce and must be recycled properly at their end of life.
Electric boat motors come with a host of different advantages and a handful of disadvantages that you’ll have to wait carefully when making a decision for your next vessel. Combustion motors still have a few key advantages that make them worth considering, but for many voters, electric motors are the future.