WILL TESLA’S CARS CHANGE THE BOATING INDUSTRY TOO?

Is the boat market about to get the same shock Tesla gave to the car market?

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Automobile manufacturers are scrambling to create electric cars that can rival the efficiency and eco-friendliness of Tesla’s new cars. New fuelling stations for electric cars are popping up all over the world. People are so excited for the next model, Tesla’s Model 3, that they’re paying $1000 just for the right to reserve a car to purchase when they first come out.

Will this mean that there will be a similar trend in other transportation industries like boating and aviation? We believe that might be the case.

Tesla’s battery powered cars’ success came from Elon Musk’s ability to respond to the growing demand for technologically driven environmentally friendly products.

Other car companies are jumping on the electric vehicle trend too. The 2016 Paris Motor Show reflected a clear trend that electrically powered vehicles are making big impact on the market. Companies like Daimler’s Mercedes, BMW, and Chevrolet have been revealing new electrically powered products that may compete with Tesla. More recently, Volvo announced that by 2019 they will only produce electric and hybrid vehicles.

Additionally, governments around the world are fueling momentum for the electric engine’s market takeover. In 2016, Germanyannounced that they will be banning internal combustion engines by 2030. Many countries are investing in charging stations, policy adjustments, and financial incentives to encourage citizens to purchase plug-in cars. China, Europe, and North America are currently leading in electric car adoption but it’s become a global phenomenon.

What’s so great about an electric engine? The efficiency of an internal combustion engine is around 30%, while electrical engines are roughly 90%. This means that fossil fuel burning engines only transfer 30% percent of fuels energy into motion; a lot of it is wasted in other forms of energy like heat. While an electrically powered vehicle can convert 90% of its energy into motion.

On top of that, electrically powered vehicles produce zero harmful emissions. They’re quiet, require very little maintenance due to their engines simplicity, and can be charged in a variety of different ways.

A Dutch company, by the name of Soel Yachts, has just released an electrically powered boat that can not only be charged externally, but through solar panels as well. The company claims that its new boat, the Soelcat 12, can run for a full 24 hours by only charging with its solar panels. Another great feature is it interacts with smartphones and tablets offering a technologically advanced experience. The yacht shares a lot of the same features that made Tesla’s cars so successful.

Although the Soelcat 12 may seem like the perfect new cutting edge boat to purchase, it has a hefty price tag of $600,000. Interestingly, this is due to it being targeted towards the hotel industry where it’s intended to be rented out by vacationers.

Soelcat’s not the only boating company taking clean technology seriously. Companies like OceanvoltElectric Yacht, and Aquawatt are examples of marine companies that are passionate about bringing boating into the clean tech era. This is becoming an exciting new area for boating companies to get involved in.

 

Surprisingly, electric motors in boating is actually not a new a concept at all. Boats with electric propulsion systems have been around since as early as 1893. They just weren’t as practical as fossil fuel powered boats, but we may have just hit a turning point.

 

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In the past few decades, there’s been a heated argument over whether the two-stroke or four-stroke engine is superior. Modern battery engines may set this argument to rest once and for all.

What does electrically powered boats mean for marinas? Most Tesla owners charge their cars at night in their garage. Similarly, most electric boats can be charged using regular dock outlets.

However, much like how Tesla’s have the ability to fill up at charging stations, marinas can add high-speed charging stations to their amenities. Some customers need quick fill-ups during the day either because they’re travelling long distances or use their boat frequently. By having high-speed charging stations, you can attract electric boats to your marina and drive up foot-traffic. This could be a key selling feature to sway boaters to choose your marina over another.

We’re still a couple years away from an electrically powered boat market takeover. However, it’s always healthy to plan for the future and stay on top of the market.

Andrew Trudel