The author is the president and founder of Portland, Oregon-based Edison Marine, builders of electric classic wooden boats.
For over a century electric boats have been gracing our waterways. These quiet gently moving vessels are loved by many but have taken a back seat to their petroleum powered brothers of gasoline and diesel. Their time may be coming.
Concerns over waterway pollution, global warming and significant improvement in battery technology is creating a resurgence in these quiet, clean running vessels. Historically the achilles heal of electric vehicles has been the energy capacity of the battery system. This is changing. The need for a better battery in a host of applications has stimulated work world wide to find a better battery solution. From cell phones to laptops to solar, wind, wave energy storage nodes to electric vehicles (EV), the need for a lighter battery with more energy capacity is evident. The market is responding. New battery offerings are being introduced quarterly, world wide improving a host of applications.
Edison Marine in Portland Oregon (see www.edison-marine.com) has jumped into the mix with a unique electric boat offering. Edison Marine has designed and developed a classic, solid plank mahogany runabout with a quiet, zero emission, electric drive system. This runabout is fashioned after those sexy barrel back runabout of the early 1940s and is getting rave reviews. Tapping over 40 years of boat building experience and over 30 years of electric engineering experience Edison Marine is proud to bring to market this stunning blend of old world wood boat charm and clean running electric drive technology.
Most, if not all, electric boats on the market are significantly different than Edison’s offering. They are in most cases standard fiberglass hulls with slow running, ‘golf cart’ electric drive systems.
The Edison offering has true world class craftsmanship. Handcrafted using tradition solid plank over batten wood boat construction techniques with the best epoxies the Edison is a site to see. Using solid mahogany throughout, she is finished beautifully with 13 coats of marine varnish and urethane to a stunning, deep, rich, glass like finish, fitting a boat of her character and beauty. Her 1940 barrelback runabout style features twin cockpits forward with twin hatch doors aft.
The Edison features true ‘EV’ performance. Featuring twin high performance 9” DC motors, twin 500 amp controllers and twin propellers (that’s right, twin props on a 17’ inboard boat), Edison moves faster and more powerfully out of the water than a Mastercraft ski boat. She is a true inboard, running direct drive shafts directly coupled to the 9” DC motors. The current implementation features a 144V AGM battery pack with 15kw hr of energy. Weighing in at 840 lbs, the 15Kwhr AGM battery pack can be upgraded to a 15kw hr Li Ion pack saving over 500lbs!
The on board Manzanita Micro battery charger can top off the 15kwhr battery pack in 4-5 hrs.
Edison is incredibly unique in the sense that it offers twin 13” drives/propellers in a 17’ boat. Normally twin ‘screws’ are reserved for large vessels that can handle the space required for twin motors. The physical advantage of an electric motor over a traditional internal combustion engine is evident and makes a twin drive 17’ boat possible.
“Electric motors are quiet, efficient, run clean and have a small physical footprint. All are good for boating and enable a very attractive runabout”.
‘While the Edison moves fast and powerfully out of the water” says Steven Shovoly president of Edison Marine, “She is best suited as a ‘cocktail cruiser’. Looking good, gracefully,cleanly and quietly waltzing at 5-7 mph down the waterways’. Shovoly adds, ‘She’s an absolute stunning beauty and a joy to drive. Economical too. With her built in 110v/220v charger she charges in 4-5 hrs with an energy cost of $1.50”. Edison has an optional on board gas generator for remote charging. Comes in handy when you’re camping and get caught far away from a 110v plug.
The Edison boat can cruise at 5-7mph for 8-10 hrs on a charge. She has a limited top speed of 31mph running at ~3600 rpm.
“We are very excited about the future of electric drive systems and proud to be able to recreate such a beautiful piece of our past” said Shovoly.
“Edison Marine is committed to low and zero emission drive systems and will continue to look for ways to offer alternative solutions for clean boating”
Edison Marine is located in Portland Oregon. They are currently taking orders for their 2008 shipments. Lead times are 4-5 months.
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