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Old 25-08-2010, 10:59   #61
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What happens when you get hull damage when the hull is the battery?
Imagine a huge short circuit under water which is not only keeping you afloat, but it's a short circuit in salt water? YOWZA !
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:07   #62
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Lol! Yeah I guess. But it would need to be a well thought out accident to short out your well thought out system. You would build a system like that using isolated banks of cells that would rundown to a central controller. At worst it would be like dropping a fully charged capacitor over board and unless you were very close to the point of damage the instant the damage occurred you wouldn't feel it, even if you were swimming. On the plus side the field it would created as it discharged would drive most sharks away long enough to get your butt in a lifeboat . I would be more worried about a lighting strike, or a poor/degrading connection causing St. Elmo's fire!
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:48   #63
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Of course, if you are burning coal or another fossil fuel to generate the electrticity necessary to charge your batteries (e.g. a coal fired power plant on shore or a gas or diesel-powered generator afloat), it kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it?
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Old 25-08-2010, 13:31   #64
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Curmudgeon you are all that your name implies! Yes it will take more fossil fuels to build an electrical system at the start but that should be offset by the components lasting longer on the whole. As for burning coal or gas to power the system most of us are looking at regenerative systems, one that would be supplemented with solar, wind and a genset when required. On the whole even if we are only 1% more efficient each it's worth doing.
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Old 25-08-2010, 19:49   #65
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Cost for electric drive?

I just started reading this thread and did try to scan through all the posts but, unless I missed it, no one has mentioned cost of diesel/electric systems. I have researched a couple of systems and found prices double to triple the cost of a new diesel including transmission.

I am really interested the possibility to go to an electric drive motor for a number of reasons, one big reason to get rid of a v-drive. Another problem is a lot a motor drive systems max out about 20-25 HP. Even with the higher efficiency of the electric drive I think I would need at least 35-40 HP. The few systems I have found so far that would power a 42' sailboat were in the $30-$40,000 range. I can repower with a new Kubota for $12-$15K. Hard for me to justify that much extra cost.

So am I missing something? Is there a system out there for a better price? Mike, what did the system for Bianka set you back?
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Old 25-08-2010, 20:39   #66
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I haven't fully researched this so it needs to be taken with a bit of salt. Since you don't have a trasmition to rob some of you power and your larger prop you can effectively move a larger boat with less horse power. There is a bit of a catch 22 with present tech. If your boat is too small your going to be very tight on space but if you boat is too big it's hard to get the power to move it cheaply. If you have a boat in the mid 30' range you should be able to get a motor and the batteries for under $8 000.00 easily. Your genset could cost that much again but you could go gas for $1 200.00 and have a nice little Honda that will get the basic job done. That's still cheaper than a comparable diesel. You should really talk to MBianka and read his blog THE BIANKA LOG BLOG he has done it and could give you facts that I can't on who to talk to get a system designed. Unlike diesel there is no one size fits most box solution. The system needs to be custom built for your boat and your sailing style.
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Old 25-08-2010, 21:01   #67
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Have done some basic research and initial, rough gestimate I can replace my 65 HP Westerbeke and get similar power/performance with 35-45 HP electric motor.

Don't want to get too high tech like hybrid or regenerative systems (even more expensive, complex, more stuff to break) and not expecting an increase in mileage, mainly looking for better installation (including I hope quieter running) and maintenance access but not if I have to pay double the cost of a new diesel.
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Old 25-08-2010, 21:21   #68
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"So am I missing something? Is there a system out there for a better price? Mike, what did the system for Bianka set you back?"

Skipmac:
I spent about 11K to replace my 27 HP Westerbeke. That includes hiring a local yacht refitter to redo the stringers for mounting the motor, and Honda and wind generator. Other than redoing the stringers I did all the work myself. It was not complicated or hard. Probably spent more time getting all the diesel stuff out then installing the electric system. Not sure what the prices are today. There are cheaper systems out there now too but, I'm not familiar with them. I'm just very happy with my setup.
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Old 25-08-2010, 21:44   #69
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Oh Curmudgeon, it seems you made no headway with your litany of past potential problems so here you are trying yet again in vain to throw a cloud of diesel exhaust over a technology with substantial benefits. Now, you are throwing out talking points from the oil and gas industry... those fine folks at Exxon, BP, etc. The research has shown your point to be false. Here is an excerpt from one popular paper that can be found at http://www.evdl.org/docs/powerplant.pdf :

Critics proclaim that EVs are simply “elsewhere emission vehicles” because they transfer
emissions from the tailpipe to the smokestack. Although there are emissions associated
with coal and oil-fired power plants, smokestack emissions associated with charging EVs
are extremely low. In fact, EVs can charge from zero-emission sources such as nuclear,
hydroelectric, solar, and wind power.

The purpose of this paper is to prove that EVs recharging from today’s power plants
are substantially cleaner than even the most efficient ICE vehicles. The myth that EVs are
“elsewhere emission vehicles” will be put to the test with facts that clearly show EVs and
power plants are cleaner, more efficient and more reliable then the infrastructure that
supports ICE vehicles.

In truth, your criticisms about electric engines are largely misguided. It seems you recognize this and that is why you have failed to counter the points and real world experience offered by mbianka and others. What I really think is amusing is the fact that they are actually sharing years of experience with electric motors while the critics on here are doing little more than speculating and opining.

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Of course, if you are burning coal or another fossil fuel to generate the electrticity necessary to charge your batteries (e.g. a coal fired power plant on shore or a gas or diesel-powered generator afloat), it kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it?
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Old 26-08-2010, 02:12   #70
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For a new build I would go electric, instant start up, maxing out on reliability, and with an option of diesel genny an unlimited run time with lift off repair/replacement.
Electric drive is pretty quiet, very flexible, and readily controlled.
Add steerable props with lifting electric outboards would make most sense, get the prop drag out of the water when sailing, get the prop drag out of the water when moored, free of marine growth, remove rope tangles over the back without leaving the boat, etc etc. The steering comes as a bonus.
And once the solar batteries are near full the spare solar power can be used anyway, helping boat speed. It also makes so much more internal Layout possibilities when the tanks can be tucked away, the diesel outside the accommodation, and electric cooking getting away from Gas. Plug in electric kettle - great/safe/understood by all.
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Old 26-08-2010, 04:23   #71
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Quote:
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Plug in electric kettle - great/safe/understood by all.
The only problem I can see with that is if my kettle breaks and I'm not in north America I gotta find an adapter for the funny plugs some of you guys use! See diesel is better lol
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Old 26-08-2010, 06:46   #72
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"In fact, EVs can charge from zero-emission sources such as nuclear, hydrooelectric, solar, and wind power."

Here's an example of life with EP. One night I needed to get something at a store and also top of one of the water tanks. So I used my electric propulsion to motor over to a dock. There was an erie dead calm in the harbor that night. I filled the water tank and then drove to the store. By the time I got back it was blowing 20 to 25 knots with higher gusts. NOAA had issued a Gale warning. White caps in the harbor etc... My boat was pinned to the dock by the wind. Luckily, two fisherman were there to help push off as I motored off the dock. I was alone and trying to pick up the mooring pennent in 25 + knots of wind was difficult as the boat kept getting blown off by the time I got up to the bow. I used a lot of high power thrusts to stay out of trouble and head into the wind. Took about four times before I grabbed the mooring line. I checked my battery bank and I was down to about 95% capacity. I went to bed that night listening to the wind in the rigging and the 48 volt Marine Air X wind generator turning, By the time I woke up the next morning the battery bank was back up to 100% fully charged. You know I was smiling as I had my coffee.
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Old 26-08-2010, 07:53   #73
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Electric propulsion is not ready for prime time if any of you expect to visit the tropics. One lightning hit and your engine control module will become crispy toast along with all the other electronics connected to the boat. This of course leaves your boat at the mercy of the storm cell that caused the lightning. This could sink your boat in the worse case and / or subject you to thousands of $$ in repairs, in the best case.

I have to mention here that I have been struck by lightning while sailing, and it's not a pleasant experience. Yet my diesels functioned flawlessly and I came through the storm with damage limited to electric / electronics.

Here in the tropics, lightning strikes are a common occurrence, and is the only reason I feel that electric propulsion isn't viable at this time.
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Old 26-08-2010, 08:23   #74
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Electric propulsion is not ready for prime time if any of you expect to visit the tropics. One lightning hit and your engine control module will become crispy toast along with all the other electronics connected to the boat. This of course leaves your boat at the mercy of the storm cell that caused the lightning. This could sink your boat in the worse case and / or subject you to thousands of $$ in repairs, in the best case.

I have to mention here that I have been struck by lightning while sailing, and it's not a pleasant experience. Yet my diesels functioned flawlessly and I came through the storm with damage limited to electric / electronics.

Here in the tropics, lightning strikes are a common occurrence, and is the only reason I feel that electric propulsion isn't viable at this time.
This is a big concern I have about my system, but there is a fairly simple solution: keep a spare motor controller in aluminum foil/the oven. It's probably the one spare part I should have anyway, and putting it in a lightning-proof location would allow for rapid recovery from the lightning strike.

Until I get one, I will just stick to parking next to boats with bigger masts.

(a side note, I think the electric system for electric drive itself is fairly robust to lightning, since it is all wired with high amperage wires to begin with [gauge 2 on my boat]. If it isn't, my backup propulsion system is a pair of 10 ft. oars, which work pretty nicely when there's not enough wind to sail....)
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Old 26-08-2010, 11:20   #75
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Have done some basic research and initial, rough gestimate I can replace my 65 HP Westerbeke and get similar power/performance with 35-45 HP electric motor....
Interesting - electric HP is about 60% more powerful than diesel HP.

Must be that electric uses bigger horses.
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