Electric-engine manufacturer Torqeedo is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year by introducing its new Deep Blue Hybrid this month at the Miami International Boat Show.
The German company — which is also bringing a boat designed by original Scarab designer Larry Smith that’s equipped with a Deep Blue outboard — might face challenges educating people about its green engines, but Torqeedo said it has seen at least 20 percent growth for every year it has been in business.
“To see the company go from an unknown start-up, launching at IBEX at 2006, to see where we are today — we have sales offices in six countries and direct distribution points in 44 countries — that part has been exciting,” Steve Trkla, president and general manager of Torqeedo’s North American division, told Trade Only Today.
That doesn’t mean there have not been challenges educating people who doubt electric and hybrid propulsion as viable options.
“We’ve been driving the technology message more,” Trkla said. “We want to let the public know we’re not just saving the environment — that’s just an extra bonus.”
Advancements in technology and motor design allow the engines more capabilities in terms of speed and range.
As a result, the company is operating in the 40- to 80-hp space with its new Deep Blue technology, which is now also available as a 40/80 PS equivalent inboard, he said.
“Deep Blue 40 has an input power of 33 kilowatts and propulsive power equivalent to a 40-hp gas motor. It requires just one battery, minimum,” Trkla said. “Deep Blue 80 has an input power of 66kW and propulsive power equivalent to an 80-hp gas motor. It requires two batteries, minimum.”
That means the engines compete in the gas engine range of 40 to 120 hp, he said.
The Deep Blue range is being expanded to include a hybrid drive system that is already in the design stage with a number of OEMs as a 40-, 80- and 160-hp equivalent.
Torqeedo will bring the Larry Smith-designed Kona sportboat to the Miami show’s Strictly Sail location, equipped with a Deep Blue outboard. The Kona will be available for sea trials.
For recreational boating, the cost of such propulsion is still high comparatively and the range is still relatively low, but consumers are still finding the new technology appealing, he said. Commercial boating currently has several opportunities that are more cost-effective than traditional motors.
“It’s very cool,” he said. “What has been driving our success is, we are an engineering company on the edge of technology and we have set many standards and bars for electric boating in both motor and battery technologies.”
That message of being the first high-performance electric motor in serial production has resonated with younger buyers, Trkla said.
“There certainly is a young class of buyers finding our product pretty cool. That’s a future market for us. Not just for Torqeedo, there are a lot of cool technological advancements. I do think that’s going to attract that younger boater.”