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Old 23-11-2015, 11:36   #1
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Electric Outboard Motor

Hello! My name is Jackson. I am doing a marketing research project at the University of Washington, and I would love to hear some feedback from the world-wide sailing community!

The Project:
Our team is trying to develop a marketing strategy for an electric outboard motor.

The Product:
The motor is a 9 to 40 horse power electric outboard motor (the motor is the same size for all the horsepower options) with a battery pack that lasts up to 3 hours at full throttle. The weight of the motor is about 70 pounds, and the weight of the battery varies by size.

Questions for all of you:
Is an electric outboard motor something the sailing community would be interested in?

If so, what size/type of sailboat would this motor be appropriate for?

Would you be willing to pay the same price, lower price, or higher price for this product compared to a traditional gas outboard motor?

What would be your biggest concerns about buying an electric outboard motor?

Do you have any advice for our team to improve the product, or marketing plan?


Any feedback is great feedback! Thank you so much for your help!
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Old 23-11-2015, 12:22   #2
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

If you do a search for electric outboards or electric motor or electric power on our search function you'll find a lot of discussion on this subject and it may help you in your studies.

I have experience with MinnKota and Torqeedo electric outboards. I prefer MinnKota because of the cost. I've used both on very small 8 foot dinghies to 26 foot 4500 lb sailing vessels. Because of the cost issues I prefer MinnKota. Torqeedo has a very fragile electrical system for ocean environment with too many bells and whistles in my point of view.

Good luck in your studies.
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Old 23-11-2015, 12:41   #3
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

Probably it's a good idea to have a look at the Torqueedo and why they're still a niche product even if they've been around a while. Apart from "range anxiety", this is probably mostly due too their high cost (25-50% more than a petrol motor?) and over-complicated electronics (as SkiprJohn alluded to).

There's probably a gap in the market between the trolling motors and the Torqueedo for something a 1-5 KW motor with a reduction box (so the prop is turning at 1000-1500 rpm instead of 10000 rpm like the trolling motors) and a simple, efficient PWM controller.
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Old 23-11-2015, 15:50   #4
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

I appreciate this is a marketing study. But the first thing you have to do is identify the product and ensure the marketing can even remotely fulfill what the product promises.

Saying you have a 40hp engine and battery pack that can operate at full throttle for three hours is... Deceptive at best.

40hp is 30kw, operating it at full throttle for three hours means 90kw*h used from the batteries. If we assume that a FLA battery will hold roughly 1amp at 12v or 12w per pound that works out to needing a battery bank of 2,500lbs to power your motor. Since FLA batteries shouldn't be discharged below 50% to meet your advertising specs you would need a 5,000lb battery bank.

Now go look at boats that use 40hp engines and ask yourself where they are going to put 5,000lbs of batteries.

In short your product doesn't exist, can't reasonably be built or used, and promising it would eliminate any trust the market would have in your manufacturer.
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Old 23-11-2015, 16:51   #5
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

Greg remember just about a week ago there was what seems to me to be the same project on sailnet. Would anybody be interested in an electric outboard like this? - SailNet Community
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Old 23-11-2015, 17:07   #6
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
40hp is 30kw, operating it at full throttle for three hours means 90kw*h used from the batteries. If we assume that a FLA battery will hold roughly 1amp at 12v or 12w per pound that works out to needing a battery bank of 2,500lbs to power your motor. Since FLA batteries shouldn't be discharged below 50% to meet your advertising specs you would need a 5,000lb battery bank.
Li-ion are getting up to around 300W/kg and don't have the 50% limit.

So you could probably get away with about 400 Kg of Li-ion batteries.

The bigger question is how are you going to replace that 90kWh once your batteries are flat? A big diesel genset? Or sit around for a two to three weeks while your large 1000 Watts solar array does it.
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Old 23-11-2015, 18:23   #7
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

I have no real experience in the world of batteries or electric power, but if many boats have an enormous keel, has anyone tried to design a keel that can fit some sort of battery pack that can at some point be removed and replaced from the keel? Just trying to figure out a solution because i would love to not have to buy fuel.
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Old 23-11-2015, 19:25   #8
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

Hunter toyed with the idea a few years ago and haven't heard anything since then
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Old 23-11-2015, 19:33   #9
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

The market is ready the batteries aren't.


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Old 23-11-2015, 19:37   #10
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxsch View Post
Hello! My name is Jackson. I am doing a marketing research project at the University of Washington, and I would love to hear some feedback from the world-wide sailing community!

The Project:
Our team is trying to develop a marketing strategy for an electric outboard motor.

The Product:
The motor is a 9 to 40 horse power electric outboard motor (the motor is the same size for all the horsepower options) with a battery pack that lasts up to 3 hours at full throttle. The weight of the motor is about 70 pounds, and the weight of the battery varies by size.

Questions for all of you:
Is an electric outboard motor something the sailing community would be interested in?

If so, what size/type of sailboat would this motor be appropriate for?

Would you be willing to pay the same price, lower price, or higher price for this product compared to a traditional gas outboard motor?

What would be your biggest concerns about buying an electric outboard motor?

Do you have any advice for our team to improve the product, or marketing plan?


Any feedback is great feedback! Thank you so much for your help!
I'm an expert. Really. Trust me, okay?
Please contact me to arrange payment of USD 5,000.00
for my expert opinion.
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Old 23-11-2015, 19:39   #11
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

For anybody interested, here is a link to the company's Facebook page. They are doing some pretty cool stuff.

https://www.facebook.com/PureWC/?fref=ts
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Old 23-11-2015, 21:16   #12
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Li-ion are getting up to around 300W/kg and don't have the 50% limit.

So you could probably get away with about 400 Kg of Li-ion batteries.

The bigger question is how are you going to replace that 90kWh once your batteries are flat? A big diesel genset? Or sit around for a two to three weeks while your large 1000 Watts solar array does it.
Lifepo4 is still at around 120 wh/kg. So more like 1000lbs of batteries. But the cost of this bank is going to be insane.

Keep in mind a Prius battery bank has roughly 4,500 watts available. So to meet our 90kw drain you would need a mere 20 Prius battery banks at $2,000 a pop.
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Old 23-11-2015, 21:26   #13
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Li-ion are getting up to around 300W/kg and don't have the 50% limit.

So you could probably get away with about 400 Kg of Li-ion batteries.

The bigger question is how are you going to replace that 90kWh once your batteries are flat? A big diesel genset? Or sit around for a two to three weeks while your large 1000 Watts solar array does it.
AAAAhhhh! I did it myself. (Following Stumble's lead though)

That should of course have been 300Wh/kg, not 300W/kg

And Stumble's subsequent post should of course be:

" Prius battery bank has roughly 4,500 watts Watt hours available. So to meet our 90kw kWh drain"
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Old 23-11-2015, 21:31   #14
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

The one thing the op didn't say here is what voltage the motor operates at there are already well establishes electric outboards with 48 volt operating power. Electric Outboards | ReGen Hybrid Electric Marine Power and http://www.elcomotoryachts.com/ep-99.shtml check their existing bussiness models
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Old 23-11-2015, 21:38   #15
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Re: Electric Outboard Motor

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxsch View Post
For anybody interested, here is a link to the company's Facebook page. They are doing some pretty cool stuff.

https://www.facebook.com/PureWC/?fref=ts
Interesting. One post says the battery packs are 5.5kWh each. And they look like this:


So at least 16 of them stacked up to get that 90kWh
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