ePropulsion has debuted the Spirit 1.0 Plus electric outboard motor, which is now available on the east coast via distributor Mack Boring, and through Four Seas on the west coast.
The Spirit 1.0 Plus system seeks to provide lightweight, efficient and quiet propulsion that is vibration-, emission- and exhaust-free — the company says the power easily matches a 3-hp, four-stroke gasoline outboard and touts it as being capable of propelling a 10-foot tender, or auxiliary power for a daysailer up to 1.5 tons.
The Spirit 1.0’s 1276Wh battery — which company founder and CEO Danny Tao says is the largest available for a motor of this size — and can reach up to about 5 knots with a range of 6.4 nm and 1-hour, 15-minute runtime at full speed.
At lower speeds, runtime can be extended to around 20 hours and a range of 46 nautical miles.
Tao told Trade Only Today that ePropulsion’s two early adopter segments have been freshwater fishermen, particularly to power jon boats and sailing yacht tenders, because sailors tend to avoid keeping gasoline on their boats.
“As long as the boats don’t require high speed, they are suitable to go electric, say clean boats, rental boats, tourism boats, small ferries, sailing catamaran, sailing monohull, etcetera,” said Tao. “High-speed boats will be the last ones to go electric, say bass boats, patrol boats, wakeboard boats.”
According to 400 sales leads ePropulsion has collected, interest for electric propulsion is spread throughout the country: 29 percent come from Florida, 29 percent California, 17 percent New York, 15 percent Washington, and 9 percent Georgia.
“We didn’t expect these numbers because the outboard market of Florida usually is three times larger than California,” said Tao. “Georgia’s market is supposed to be larger than New York. The dealer network heavily influences this result. The major brands don’t have a well-established dealer network in Texas, and the Great Lakes states.”
Tao says another hurdle to adoption of electric propulsion is that the industry lacks a pioneer like Tesla was in the auto industry, or like Apple has become to the smartphone industry. The most important market is the 5- to 100-hp market, said Tau.
“However, no brand provides good solutions there,” Tao told Trade Only Today. “The industry is demanding a pioneer brand that can raise capital, invest in deep-level R&D, sort out the engineering problems, and again invest in marketing to educate the buyers.
“People say the biggest problem is the high cost, reliability, difficult charging access, etcetera,” said Tao. “No, we think the biggest problem is no pioneer brand to lead the industry. ePropulsion works hard, and we will popularize electric marine motors no matter what. ePropulsion will lead the industry with innovative products, reliable quality, and top service.”
The Spirit 1.0 Plus’s battery weighs 19.2 pounds – and it floats. Batteries can be changed in as little as one minute and have a charge time of 3.5 to 8.5 hours, depending on the charger. They can also be charged with environmentally friendly solar panels.
The 48V operating voltage allows Spirit 1.0 Plus to work with an external ePropulsion or third-party battery to extend range. Available in three sizes — 2048Wh E40, 4096Wh E80 and 8960Wh E175 — ePropulsion E-Series batteries can extend full-speed runtimes to 2-, 4- and 9-hours, respectively.