The cold-molded electric boat project is finally underway!
Why go electric……
Powerboats are inherently bad polluters. It is estimated that they produce 50 times what a car produces at the same speed. Regulators know this. In 2006 the EPA imposed tough restrictions on emissions- effectively eliminating 2 stroke motors. In 2017, the EPA went further- regulating gasoline tank emissions. We expect this trend to continue.
The TRPA actually predated the EPA’s decision to limit 2 stroke motors, and even went as far as to eliminate them altogether on Lake Tahoe.
We are by no means the only country to exercise these limits. The European Union has outlawed combustion engines entirely on dozens of its lakes.
Add to this the trend toward green solutions. People are taking it upon themselves to be responsible, yet there are few options for them. The most economical solution is to move at or below hull speed- usually in the 5-7 knot range, thereby using relatively little energy. But for those boaters that want to go faster, there are very few green options.
Currently the only commercially available high speed electric boat aimed at the recreational market is the Dasher, a 29 foot boat manufactured by Hinckley Yachts, but it is a decidedly modern looking boat, and is priced at around $500,000.
Motors have been capable of pushing boats on a plane for at least 50 years, but it has been the batteries that have held up development of the electric boat market. Today’s Lithium batteries have a much higher usable energy density than Lead Acid. This means that you can have twice the power for half the weight. And weight is a big deal on boats.
The perfect choice…..
Our design is an efficient one with classic lines that was specifically designed for electric power. Her long waterline and relatively narrow beam make her an efficient boat. The naval architect, Laurie Mcgowan, is calling her “Flair”. She is 29 feet long with a 6’9” beam. Bedard Yacht Design is creating the CNC files to aid in the quick and efficient production of the individual pieces.
She is to have a top speed of around 18 knots and a cruising speed of 10 knots. She will have a range of 40 miles at that speed. She is to be powered by one 40 hp Torqueedo “Deep Blue” motor, and one BMW I3 Battery Pack with a throttle control and a touch screen. Her Lithium Manganese battery can be recharged with any shore power plug, thus allowing boaters the ability to extend their day on the water.
Flair will comfortably accommodate up to seven passengers between her two captains chairs and horseshoe shaped seat. She has a cuddy cabin that will house the battery and have a few bins for storage.
She has a nice curving windshield, and a Bimini that matches the styling of the boat.
She is to be “Cold Molded”- a process of gluing up several veneers of wood into the shape of a boat. She will then have a layer of fiberglass applied to make her watertight and strong. This construction style yields a boat that has a higher strength to weight ratio than fiberglass boats- again, weight is a big deal. These boats are also quieter as the wood absorbs the sound of water slapping the hull. This is potentially significant as electric boats don’t have a loud motor to mask this noise. These boats combine the best attributes of fiberglass and wood.
Drive train options…..
- Torqueedo’s “Deep Blue” system
This is very comprehensive including a 40 HP motor, charger, control box, 12v start up battery, speed controller, onboard computer with a 12 inch touch screen, and a BMW i3 high voltage battery. This system is adequate to meet all of our design criteria, while being a “plug and play” system. After all the mechanical connections are made, Torqueedo will send out a technician to make all the final electrical connections and certify the installation. This will qualify Flair for a 2 year warranty on the drivetrain, and a 9 year warranty on the battery. Torqueedo will also accept all of the liability.
The first step: The strong back
The veneer layers
Fairing and stem work…..
Glassing the bottom…..
Getting ready to flip the boat. Joe built his own “travel lift”…….
Flipping Flair! Joe style……it went very smoothly and took about 3 hours.
Starting to glass the bilge…….