Electric Boats: Not just toys!
Why not just use wind power?
Well electric boats are very big on inland waterways like canals where sails canít be used. If you really wanted to be environmentally friendly of course it might be better to just use sails but look at all the boats out there at the moment that donít and could be replaced by an electric version.
Diesel/petrol engines are by far the most popular boat engines out there at the moment and when you have a big 15hp engine and all you need it for is to cruise down a canal then youíre kind of over doing it arenít you? A simple electric motor could give you exactly the power you need.
Wonít batteries pollute the water if it sinks?
Yes it would but the pollutants that come out of an internal combustion engine are just as bad if not worse. The big plus for an electric motor is that it doesnít spew out chemicals in the water or the air when itís working normally like a diesel/petrol engine.
If you just take a look at any harbour youíll see the water is covered in oil. Thereís no way anyone would want to end up in something like that and why do people act like its OK? Imagine if the water where you left your boats was just as clean as the rest of the water you like to sail on, wouldnít that be a good idea?
An electric outboard motor also makes no noise so it wonít scare away wildlife or fish, which would be perfect for fishermen or wildlife lovers.
Where would I recharge?
Well there are a few places to recharge an electric boat but not many. There are some charge points along many main canals and lakes. However a big advantage is solar recharging. Solar panels are usually placed like an awning over the boat but can be put anywhere as long as you make sure the sun can get at them.
Would a solar panel really get me anywhere far or fast?
There is an electric catamaran which weighs 60 tonnes and can carry 50 passengers onboard called the Turanor Planet Solar. Itís currently circumnavigating the globe on solar power alone. So if you think solar power is useless then think again! They are also using only materials which have the ability to be mass produced so they can demonstrate what can be achieved with solar power.
You might also be interested to know that just like electric cars, electric boats have been around since the 1800ís! They were very popular in the late 1800ís and the early 1900ís until the internal combustion engine took over.
Electric boats have a very passionate following just like electric cars do. There are a few companies who specialise in making them however many are conversions with pretty low power and range suitable for cruising down a river. I think that if the situation is right like on a river or canal then electric boats are perfect. However sailboats are always going to be the obvious greener choice when youíre out at sea.
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