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Old 01-02-2016, 14:35   #1
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Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

Hey everyone!

So I'm curious, electric propulsion systems in sailboats are becoming more viable and used these days.

The cost of a off-the-shelf package for an electric system is very expensive, yet price comparable to a diesel engine.

What is everyone's opinion for sailboats that operate pure electric propulsion vrs diesel? What about DIY electric propulsion(given it's setup correctly).

Does electric production based systems increase the boat value more so than diesel? What about DIY ones?

We all know that generally a gas engine will decrease the value of the boat vrs diesel, but lets compare what the value of one is when comparing diesel and electric
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Old 01-02-2016, 14:45   #2
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

I keep looking at this and come to the conclusion although electric engines are fantastic, the lack of decent affordable battery tech still greatly handicaps them compared to a diesel. A lot of people have made them work well though! It depends on what kind of sailing you do.

Also, you can build your own system for a lot cheaper than a pre-built.
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Old 01-02-2016, 15:04   #3
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

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Originally Posted by alctel View Post
I keep looking at this and come to the conclusion although electric engines are fantastic, the lack of decent affordable battery tech still greatly handicaps them compared to a diesel. A lot of people have made them work well though! It depends on what kind of sailing you do.

Also, you can build your own system for a lot cheaper than a pre-built.
I agree. I have constantly come back around the ball to "should i just do all electric?".

My boat has an outboard 15hp on the back which powers it fine. I much prefer inboards to outboards so i've been slowly working on getting my Perkins running again. That being said, I have a very small house bank and been wanting to upgrade it. I use a small 2000w inverter generator to give me power when on the hook.

For the cost of rebuilding or even outright replacing my perkins with a used engine is going to cost me atleast $1500. I wont have much to do to replace the engine since I have a diesel. What keeps bringing me back to the idea of electric is the fact that for around $1500, maybe $2000, i could have an all electric setup, spend a few hundred bucks to install a few solar panels, and I have a viable option for my boat.

One who ones a sailboat should be spending most of their time sailing, rather than motoring. The cost of batteries could be the cost prohibitive part, however it should not be the limiting factor to "long term" as long as you have a generator to provide the "hybrid" power I would think.
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Old 01-02-2016, 15:06   #4
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

Agreed with above, I've had both systems and while electric is fine for a lake sailor getting in and out of the harbour/slip etc..... The comparison stops there, there is no substantial range with electric, as tides, currents, head winds wreak havoc with your range.
But the electric can suit you if you fall into the category of just needing to get in and out of the slip and don't require extended cruising for periods of travel with little wind.
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Old 01-02-2016, 15:27   #5
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

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Agreed with above, I've had both systems and while electric is fine for a lake sailor getting in and out of the harbour/slip etc..... The comparison stops there, there is no substantial range with electric, as tides, currents, head winds wreak havoc with your range.
But the electric can suit you if you fall into the category of just needing to get in and out of the slip and don't require extended cruising for periods of travel with little wind.
Wouldn't range not be a concern if you ran in "hybrid" using a generator? Speed wise you are going to be running slower on EP, but with no wind, sun should shine and that should provide a bit of extra "power". Sure you may still be carrying fuel for the generator, but wouldn't you be able to run just as long, or longer in the "hybrid" mode?

I dont have experience with offshore so I dont have any practical knowledge on the subject.
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Old 01-02-2016, 16:21   #6
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

Chowdan,

just use the search facility - the subject has been hashed out numerous times. Only two comments from me:

I am a multihuller, and the only production boat that dared go hybrid was Lagoon 421. The resale value of these is pitiful, unless they have been converted to Diesel. So the reality check simply did not work.

Second - I have half a ton of batteries with about 1,1 kWh of energy stored in them, of which about half is usable if I don't want to destroy them. My Diesel tanks weigh about the same, storing 700 kWh. Do the math...

You don't need a lot of energy coming out and going into port. You need it when you are out there and things turn to ****. And then you usually need it for days, before the weather calms down or you reach a safe haven. I've been there, and I have come to love my two Yanmars for never quitting on me...

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Old 01-02-2016, 16:36   #7
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

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Originally Posted by Oliver L. View Post
Chowdan,

just use the search facility - the subject has been hashed out numerous times. Only two comments from me:

I am a multihuller, and the only production boat that dared go hybrid was Lagoon 421. The resale value of these is pitiful, unless they have been converted to Diesel. So the reality check simply did not work.

Second - I have half a ton of batteries with about 1,1 kWh of energy stored in them, of which about half is usable if I don't want to destroy them. My Diesel tanks weigh about the same, storing 700 kWh. Do the math...
...

Oliver
Oliver hit the nail on the head. It's all about power and fossil fuels have been so successful because of the power (energy) that can be stored in a compact area.

While it may seem like a great idea, but a boat is not a car. vehicle engines must go a all different speeds and power settings. A transmission with many gears 4, 5, 6+ can mitigate that, but it is still not as efficient as a boat motor is.

There is also no way to recoup braking energy, a big part of an electric car.

It's simply hard to beat your small perkins.
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Old 01-02-2016, 16:58   #8
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

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I have half a ton of batteries with about 1,1 kWh of energy stored in them, of which about half is usable if I don't want to destroy them.
I have slightly less than a quarter tonne of LiFePO4 batteries with 27KWh, all of which is usable. Specifically, 120 CALB CAM72 cells.

Certainly, today, the resale value and the liquidity will be higher with diesel propulsion than with electric propulsion. Ten years from now, that might not be the case.

My next boat will not carry any combustible fuels. No diesel, no propane, no paraffin, no hydrogen, no petrol/gasoline. No combustible fuels, period. I plan to keep it well past the horizon of predictability for resale values.
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Old 01-02-2016, 21:49   #9
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

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Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
Hey everyone!

So I'm curious, electric propulsion systems in sailboats are becoming more viable and used these days. False. They are no where close to the capability.

The cost of a off-the-shelf package for an electric system is very expensive, yet price comparable to a diesel engine. Again false. For a system with the same capability, electric is much more expensive.

What is everyone's opinion for sailboats that operate pure electric propulsion vrs diesel? What about DIY electric propulsion(given it's setup correctly). DIY will suffer the same cost implications of a home built boat. People will shy away not knowing the quality.

Does electric production based systems increase the boat value more so than diesel? What about DIY ones? Both decrease the value and your potential pool of buyers.

We all know that generally a gas engine will decrease the value of the boat vrs diesel, but lets compare what the value of one is when comparing diesel and electric
When electric boats have the same range as gas/diesel boats and cost about the same the situation will change. Until then they are the realm of tinkerers.
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Old 02-02-2016, 06:30   #10
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

In terms of resale value, I think it's mainly a question of how quickly you want to sell the boat. If you need to get rid of it within a few months you are probably going to have to take a big hit, as you won't be able to wait around to find just the right buyer. If you can afford to spend a couple of years with it on the market, then you might get a premium price from someone who really wants electric propulsion.

This is generally the case with any large-ticket item like this (including houses). You can sell it in a day if you price it low enough, or it can languish on the market for years if you price it too high. Somewhere in between is a price that will get it sold in a reasonable (however you define that term) amount of time.
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Old 02-02-2016, 07:02   #11
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

To re-hash it, most people can't quite get by with their Solar panels, although some have excess, but they are cooking with propane and using diesel for both propulsion and battery charging.
To power a cruising boat off of Solar alone unfortunately isn't realistic, maybe possible with a lot of sacrifices though, and if you burn Diesel to charge batteries to provide propulsion, you'll burn more Diesel that using it directly for propulsion.

Now if your a weekend sailor only and don't cruise, then electric may in fact be the best answer for you.

My guess is any non-standard form of propulsion is going to hurt re-sale. Most buyers want what the factory put in.
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Old 02-02-2016, 10:14   #12
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

I'm with Oliver L. Had friends who built a 40' cat in Oz and put in twin elec. one miserable trip from NZ to Tonga and they changed them out to diesel.

Resale would be abysmal.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:45   #13
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

I have put my own electric drive in and after all the work and rigger I like it a lot better. True that batteries are the weekest link in my system I wouldn't trade it out just yet. I recently moved from one marina to another and I did run out of electric.
However I had no way to charge the batteries while sailing and I am in the process of mounting 2- 250 watt solar panels to a pwm as we speak.
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Old 02-02-2016, 13:50   #14
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

Resale - If you find the right buyer, someone that really wants electric then you will do OK. If not, you could lose your shirt.

Electric will be more expensive for similar capabilities.

It's easy to say you sail in a sailboat but what if it's Sunday afternoon, you're 15 miles from the dock, have to be at work Monday am, the wind dies and you have 5 miles range under battery? What if you want to cruise the ICW on the US east coast? Access to a marina up a river? Navigating a long, narrow channel against the wind?

Solar is not enough to extend the range unless you cover the decks of a beamy cat with panels. A generator can work but you'll have to carry a lot of fuel and unless you have large genie you'll only have enough power to creep along.
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Old 02-02-2016, 14:10   #15
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Re: Comparing diesel vrs electric propulsion(DIY/Production) in terms of resell value

Depends on you and your sail plans. How would you cope sitting in the middle of nowhere going nowhere while you wait for sun or wind?
"boat_alexandra", a member, has a 26ft Bristol and is a bit different from most of us. He's travelled San Franscico to Durban via NZ and Asia with only electric and lots of solar and a large paddle.
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