OCC Forums

Electric outboards

https://forum.oceancruisingclub.org/Topic96.aspx

By simoncurrin - 3/14/2012

We have become firm converts to the new generation of lithium battery powered electric outboards. The battery technology gives them plenty of endurance and enough power for most displacement tenders. We have an inverter on board so re-charging is quick and easy but I understand you can use bespoke solar chargers though these aren 't cheap. The great advantages are that they are silent, very light weight and there is no longer a need to keep petrol on board.

Our Torqeedo 1003 has, on the whole, been very reliable but, during the second season an integrated circuit board in the battery blew. The dealer arranged repair under warranty without fuss but the UK service agency proved to be slow, unhelpful and arrogant. I hope that they get this glitch sorted as it 's a great outboard.
http://www.torqeedo.com/index.php
By DariaBlackwell - 4/30/2012

Thanks for this information Simon. We have been eyeing the Torqeedo for several years. How long can you actually go on one charge?
By simoncurrin - 4/30/2012

It depends hugely on the type of tender, amount of load and speed. For instance, in our super sleek and light weight rowing boat we can easily go 6nM on one charge in flat water.

Our RIB tender is very much less efficient to row and to power. On the tender we use it at higher speeds because it 's easy enough to recharge on board Shimshal. In these circumstance a couple of miles is probably what we average but the reality is that most trips ashore in normal cruising are very short and one charge lasts for many days. The built in gps gives you real time feedback about energy consumption, speed and range so you get loads of warning of when the power is going to be cut.

Any anxieties you have about range will quickly be offset by silent motoring and the ease with which it can be passed up from tender to pushpit. It 's a very well designed piece of kit and the only caveats I have are mentioned in the first post in this thread.
By simoncurrin - 8/26/2012

A brief update on the Torqueedo. Our lithium battery failed at the start of it 's third season. As it is now out of warrranty we bit the bullet and replaced it at considerable cost. Despite the damage tothe wallet it really is a pleasure to use this light, quiet and well designed piece of kit.
By Dick - 9/18/2015

Hi Simon,
Thanks for the field reports. I am eyeing a Torqeedo for my nesting rowing dink (with a good slippery hull) and quite like what I have heard. Even with your reported troubles, I believe it makes sense for us.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
By simoncurrin - 9/18/2015

Dick,
Ours completely gave up the ghost last season but we found it so good we replaced it and I am glad we did as the new model has had some of the weaknesses ironed out.
Simon
By Dick - 9/18/2015

Hi Simon,
I am sorry that you had to do some of the R&D for Toqueedo. I suspected from reading their literature that some of the kinks had been ironed out, but it is nice to have that confirmed. Was there an outfit in the UK for Torqeedo that you felt gave good service?
Thanks, Dick
By simoncurrin - 9/18/2015

We used Chatity & Taylor but their estimate for repairing the old one prompted us to replace rather than repair.
By Dick - 9/19/2015

Hi Simon,
Thanks for the info. Do you have a go-to guy in the shop? I always like to deal with people when possible. Also, I suspect you got the 2.0 T short shaft. Is that correct? Are there any option/accessories that one should consider?
Thanks, Dick
By Dick - 9/19/2015

Simon, Sorry, More likely the 1003? Dick
By simoncurrin - 9/19/2015

That 's right it is the 1003s. A spare skeg is not a bad idea as this is sacrificial. I see Nestaway are now UK dealers and the guy who runs that is very helpful - we did a homebuild on one of his boats a few years ago.
By Dick - 9/19/2015

Simon, Yes, Ian at Nestaway is a good source. He built my Danny Greene Chamelian nesting dinghy which we are very happy with. Nice workmanship. His web site is also informative about Torqeedos in a reasonable way and not the usual hype. Dick
By simoncurrin - 9/19/2015

Agree. We have the Nestaway Trio 14.
By Dick - 10/5/2016

Hi Everyone,
We have one season using the Torqeedo 1003 and wish to echo all the advantages said so far about these quiet powerful motors. So far no negatives. It is a pleasure not to have a gasoline outboard with its fuel, gear lube, additives, smells and spills and heavier weight.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
By simoncurrin - 10/5/2016

Dick,
For the last 2 years we have been carrying two batteries with us. This summer the older of the two batteries failed. It holds charge and runs the motor fine but I cannot recharge it. I presume it is a circuit board failure so will return it for repair and I will let you know the outcome. Getting a large lithium battery onto a plane back to the UK was a bit of a drama. So flying spares to remote places may be a difficulty that needs to be factored in. If it is the circuit board that has failed then it will be our second in 6 years. Apart from that I have nothing but praise.
Simon
By Dick - 10/5/2016

Hi Simon,
One of the pleasures of our nesting dinghies is that they row so well, that if the motor craps out, we can still go long distances up wind. Dick
By Hasbun - 10/9/2016

We 've had a Torqeedo Travel 1003 since 2013, which we purchased in the U.S., our home waters. We are happy with the product, but as a result of our experiences with it...

- We purchased a second battery in 2014.
- We obtained a Torqeedo "fast charger" in 2015.
- We found Torqeedo repair service in Spain and Portugal nearly inexistent and the German office worse than useless. Fortunately the U.S. office was more collaborative.
- We still carry a gasoline engine, 8HP, as a spare, and for when we must traverse longer distances.

Our preferred engine is the Torqeedo and it is the one that sees the most use, by far. But there 's been times when we 've celebrated that we have the conventional one as well.

Cheers,
By Dick - 10/9/2016

Thanks for the info. We shall see what spares we accumulate over time. When in the Bahamas, Carib. and Central America, we carried 2 outboards, a 15 and a 3.5 and a RIB. We used them all the time and they worked well generally. Since leaving those areas, having an "SUV" became far less important and we used the outboards far less. As a consequence, they became far less reliable. I am not sure what I would do if I returned to those waters, but I am pleased with the distances achieved with the Torqeedo so far. Dick
By simoncurrin - 10/9/2016

Prompted by this thread I just plugged in the "failed" battery (the one that wouldn 't charge so we brought back from Iceland) and it is no charging! I am wondering if they changed the specification of the charger as the old battery now works with the old charger whereas it would not charge with the newer charger I had on the boat even though the new charger worked with the new battery!! All a bit confusing.

Just need to figure how to get the now working battery back to Iceland now given that the airline really didn 't like us for checking into hold baggage!

Simon
By Hasbun - 10/9/2016

Frustrating!

All I can say is that both of our batteries charge equally well with either the fast charger (3.5 hrs to charge) or the original charger (14 hours to charge). A difference is that the fast charger warms up the battery whereas the original charger does not.

As it is well known that internal heating is a dire enemy of lithium battery life, we keep both chargers together but only use the fast charger when we imperatively know we must recharge a battery quickly because we will need it shortly; i.e., rarely.

Best,
By Dick - 7/31/2019

Hasbun - 10/9/2016
Frustrating!All I can say is that both of our batteries charge equally well with either the fast charger (3.5 hrs to charge) or the original charger (14 hours to charge). A difference is that the fast charger warms up the battery whereas the original charger does not. As it is well known that internal heating is a dire enemy of lithium battery life, we keep both chargers together but only use the fast charger when we imperatively know we must recharge a battery quickly because we will need it shortly; i.e., rarely.Best,

Hi all,
There is another fairly strong, to me, argument in favor of electric outboards such as Torqeedo.
There are seasons where you use your dinghy all the time and there are seasons where it gets little use. Newfoundland has been a season where we have been tying up at wharfs and visiting small towns. Anchorages are scarce as the depths are great and are interests are more inclined to the communities than to gunkholing.
In years past, I used to hate the gas/petrol powered outboard sitting on my transom having the fuel go slowly bad and turning into varnish in the carburetor. And, yes, I always ran it dry, but gas-powered outboards just like to be used and have their fuel fresh.
With the Torqeedo, that is not a worry.
I also had my outboard serviced with regularity (and sometimes repaired): the servicing is no longer an issue and, so far, there has been no repairs necessary.
BTW, the above observation goes for dinghies as well. I have a hard nesting dinghy that rows well and is out of the way under the boom. It is largely impervious to sun/rain/dirt etc. I used to hate storing my inflatable on the foredeck for long periods unused. Not only was it in the way of sail/spinnaker/ground tackle handling at times, but it was slowly but surely being destroyed by the sun.
Further thoughts, Dick Stevenson, s/vAlchemy