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Old 16-04-2016, 11:27   #1
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Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

From time to time an electric sailboat comes onto the market, and for most of up even considering one involves a considerable leap of faith. These forums are awash in some of the opinions and alleged issues, eg -

1. limited range

2. lack of knowledge (many of us know diesel/gas engines) but very few understand electric. DIY is a challenge and learning curve.

3. difficulty of service while cruising, compared to sailmaking and ordinary glass and engine repairs. Parts and knowledge in distant ports may be an issue.

And so on. Bottom line: I've considered these and more and I'm still game, in fact quite likely to buy a used electric sailboat. That's my decision, but to the real point:

Resale. something we all have to consider when buying. It seems to be a truism that for the above opinions, electric's resale is both lower in price, and notably harder to find buyers, ergo a further loss of value. Let me pose this less than hypothetical:


Consider a good used diesel-powered sailboat that would otherwise command a fair sale or resale value of say $20,000. If that same sailboat was powered by a used electric, how would that affect the sale or resale? I need to buy right, so I can sell right. So what is the wisdom of the forum?

Would it or should it sell or resell for $15,000? $10,000? Less?
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Old 16-04-2016, 13:24   #2
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

"If that same sailboat was powered by a used electric, how would that affect the sale or resale?"
I see two problems. The first being "Who the hell wants a one-off electric boat?". No offense, but you're going to find buyers are few and far between. Not many people want an electric, and not many people want a "some guy built this" boat, at all.
If you find a kindred soul, the used oddball electric boat may be priceless.


But you might want to contact some of those folks who have electric boats for sale, and ask them if anyone has come kicking the tires, and if so at what price. Compared to, say, a boat with an outboard, or a dead inboard perhaps.


A $20,000 boat that needs a whole new propulsion system, because electric just won't do? Might be worth $5000. That's about the cost or installing a conventional inboard, tankage, professional labor, and all that other good stuff. Or it might be worth $20k, if that's what someone is looking for.


What makes a Picasso worth $50 million? Damfino. You can buy a fine counterfeit for five grand.
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Old 16-04-2016, 14:51   #3
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

It would depend on how I want to use the boat. If I just want engine in and out of the dock then I would just as well pay a bit more for the electric engine.

Then again I am an atypical user - I like to sail boats, even the sailing ones.

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Old 18-04-2016, 12:48   #4
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

It's going to depend to a large extent on how quickly you need to sell. As you observed, buyers are going to be harder to find. That is, some people will not even consider the boat--at almost any price--because of the electric conversion.

So, if you can afford to let the boat sit on the market, until the right buyer comes along, you may get a very good price indeed. In fact, you might find someone willing to pay a premium for the electric conversion.

On the other hand, if you have to sell the boat quickly, then you have to price it low enough to lure those who would otherwise not consider an electric boat. You may have to discount it by a huge amount to get it to sell in your time frame.
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Old 18-04-2016, 12:52   #5
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

I have the knowledge I believe to handle electric power, but I would never buy any home made power source.
OK, maybe not never, if I found a screaming deal so that I could rip it all out and re-power for less than the boat was worth, then I would do it.

My belief is that Electric is coming, but as a day sailor first.
You wouldn't buy an electric car with the idea of it being your travelling car, then one you took on long trips would you?
Whats the difference?
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Old 18-04-2016, 12:56   #6
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

There are two main problems with electric boats:

1) They need a very long power cord.

2) It's hard to keep the power cord afloat and keep it from tangling with other boats, docks, etc.
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Old 18-04-2016, 17:44   #7
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

Sailors not that long ago had just wind power. Reviving a boat with a bad diesel with a short range electric motor battery set up would make some sense. Always be worth more than the same boat with no engine.


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Old 21-01-2017, 12:09   #8
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

Well, I don't know how much value one should attribute to a 40 year old diesel which is seen in many old boats for sale.
So if a buyers sailing pattern is fit for an electric I don't see how it could make hurt?

Frankly I don't get the "hate" towards electric if it fits the purpose.
I myself will be removing my 36 year old diesel now in favor of electric.
I know it is not for everyone, but last season I used a total of 5 gallons of diesel. I have a sailboat, if there is no wind I wait. If I have to get home I will have to live with a much longer trip now (low speed).
It's all good for me, since it will be much more silent, and no diesel fumes, complex systems to maintain etc.

Btw. I am lucky to sail in pretty sheltered waters with no tides and currents to speak of, that meant a lot when making the descision.
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Old 21-01-2017, 12:16   #9
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

the 39 yo formosa 41 propelled by electric o=motor was sold at 35000 usd. it was an incomplete boat in midst of refit--and was sold as a 50 ft formosa, inclusive of sprit--yes a fraudulent sale by a scam artist. oops... but it sold at more than it should have by a good 15000 usd.
i knew boat inside and out--so i know the overall condition of it at time of sale.
btw--electric motors have longer range than you think. just use solar and wind power to your advantage.
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Old 21-01-2017, 12:19   #10
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

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the 39 yo formosa 41 propelled by electric o=motor was sold at 35000 usd. it was an incomplete boat in midst of refit--and was sold as a 50 ft formosa, inclusive of sprit--yes a fraudulent sale by a scam artist. oops... but it sold at more than it should have by a good 15000 usd.
i knew boat inside and out--so i know the overall condition of it at time of sale.
btw--electric motors have longer range than you think. just use solar and wind power to your advantage.
Good points!
I am in a marina with shore power almost every night (99 percent), so I dont think I will have to invest much in independent charging. Denmark is nice place to sail :-)
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Old 21-01-2017, 12:23   #11
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

I daydream about repowering larger sailboats, 40 to 50 feet, with electric propulsion. If I ever did it, I'd start with a boat that needs a new engine anyway, and convert to electric at that time. Electrics should have much more life span in them, but they also wear out and need to be replaced. At that time it could be repowered back to diesel if necessary.

But I'd be going into the whole thing with the expectation of zero financial return on the installation, and I'd use quality parts to make for the best experience, and document the whole thing in excruciating detail. The more information you can provide to potential buyers the longer you'll have their ear and the better chance of getting a little money out of them for all your goofy electrics.
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Old 21-01-2017, 13:29   #12
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaylorMade View Post
Well, I don't know how much value one should attribute to a 40 year old diesel which is seen in many old boats for sale.
So if a buyers sailing pattern is fit for an electric I don't see how it could make hurt?

Frankly I don't get the "hate" towards electric if it fits the purpose.
I myself will be removing my 36 year old diesel now in favor of electric.
I know it is not for everyone, but last season I used a total of 5 gallons of diesel. I have a sailboat, if there is no wind I wait. If I have to get home I will have to live with a much longer trip now (low speed).

That's if you still have the range with EP to get home

It's all good for me, since it will be much more silent, and no diesel fumes, complex systems to maintain etc.

Btw. I am lucky to sail in pretty sheltered waters with no tides and currents to speak of, that meant a lot when making the descision.
But to the point of the thread - once you do that to your boat, it is only suitable for your specific use case in your sailing area and the potential re-sale market has gone way down.
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Old 21-01-2017, 13:31   #13
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

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But to the point of the thread - once you do that to your boat, it is only suitable for your specific use case in your sailing area and the potential re-sale market has gone way down.
Well yes - again, how much value is there in a 40 year old diesel, which is found in a similar boat of that age.
For me - 0 kroner (dullars) YMMV
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Old 21-01-2017, 13:34   #14
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

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But to the point of the thread - once you do that to your boat, it is only suitable for your specific use case in your sailing area and the potential re-sale market has gone way down.
That's an interesting point, and something we briefly spoke with a boat broker about.

Because boats are mobile, the potential market is the whole world. But if it's been customized to certain conditions, it becomes less interesting to most people.

Still, though, similar could be said for a boat with a deep keel, wide beam, or excessive length. Some features that are great in some areas limit their usability in other areas.
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Old 21-01-2017, 14:18   #15
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Re: Electric power: how does this affect resale value?

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That's an interesting point, and something we briefly spoke with a boat broker about.

Because boats are mobile, the potential market is the whole world. But if it's been customized to certain conditions, it becomes less interesting to most people.

Still, though, similar could be said for a boat with a deep keel, wide beam, or excessive length. Some features that are great in some areas limit their usability in other areas.
Well, a small sailboat like mine (27 feet) NORDSHIP 808 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com, is probably not an item that is sold for areas outside where it is located, so that would most likely be a fit. I realize that you StuM does not like electric and it does probably not suit your needs. But that doesn't mean that a boat with electric is rendered useless, if it is in an area with suitable conditions.
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