Are Electric Boats Safe?

17 Oct 2022

For the first time, an electric boat has reached a top speed of more than 100 miles per hour. Vision Marine Technologies (NASDAQ: VMAR), to demonstrate the capabilities of its most recent electric outboard motor, has set a new speed record on the sea by traveling 109 miles per hour.

When shopping for a car or boat, one's priority should always be safety, regardless of whether the vehicle or vessel has an internal combustion engine or an electric motor. To suggest that a gasoline or diesel engine is inherently riskier than an electric motor is, in our view, a fallacious line of reasoning or safer. For instance, gas-powered Mercedes sedans and SUVs manufactured between 2015 and 2017 have a higher risk of catching fire than other cars because of an overheating starter port, while electric Hyundai Konas have just been recalled owing to the possibility of a battery fire.

On the other hand, the electric Tesla Model 3 received a perfect 5-star rating in every safety area and subcategory, achieving the lowest chance of injury of any vehicle that has ever been evaluated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The gas-powered Toyota Camry, Honda Insight, and Kia Optima are regarded as some of the safest automobiles on the road and have also earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick+ award.

Our message to those who want to make the gas vs. electric argument on safety is to stop dividing our country, our drivers, and our boaters and learn the real answer, which is that well-designed electric and well-designed gas/diesel cars and boats are safe, while poorly designed electric and gas/diesel boats are not safe. This is our message to those who want to make the argument.

What Are Electric Boats and How Do They Work?

To put it another way, electric boats are boats that propel themselves with an electric engine that is driven by a battery rather than a combustion engine that is powered by gas. They are available in a range of different models. These boats come in a wide variety of styles, ranging from fishing skiffs to luxury yachts to leisure cruisers.

Some things to know about electric powerboats:

Battery Power:

  • The batteries, which are typically lithium-ion, are available in a wide range of capacities. Kilowatts are the unit used to measure them. The more kilowatts that are available, the more power can be supplied to the engine.
  • After each use, the batteries need to have their charge restored. This can be accomplished by making use of a standard electrical outlet.
  • The lifespan of the battery bank is determined by factors such as the size of the boat's motor, its weight, its dimensions, and the primary purpose it serves.

Electric Propulsion Engines:

  • The battery provides the energy for the electric power outboard motor. Every one thousand watts of engine power is equal to three horsepower of conventional engine power.
  • Because there is no need to add fluids or oils to an electric engine, the upkeep and maintenance requirements are significantly reduced.
  • An electric boat's top speed can range anywhere from 5 knots per hour to 35–50 knots in the most advanced and high-tech electric foiling yachts. Electric boats are becoming increasingly popular.
  • The boat will travel at a quicker speed if it has a greater amount of battery juice. As battery technology advances, manufacturers will be able to produce batteries that are not only more powerful but also take up less space, which will result in enhanced capability in electric boats. This is already happening in our mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as well as desktops and even pickup trucks. Compact batteries for boats will certainly follow suit!

Important Factor To Electric Boat Safety

Here are some important factors that show electric boats are safe.

Motor Cooling

Tiny electric motors that are just used to get in and out of marinas don’t need to be cooled. Cooling an electric motor is necessary for any use that exceeds this one in terms of the size of the motor or the length of time it is used. There are two types of cooling strategies: passive and active, and motors can be cooled by either air or liquid. When the cooling systems are placed correctly, they perform quite effectively.

Proper Wiring

Not only does improper wiring provide a threat to the boat's electric propulsion system, but it also poses a threat to the safety of the other systems on the vessel. All of a boat's systems in total need to be correctly wired by ABYC standards by a marine mechanic. This ensures that the appropriate gauge wire is used, that fuses and circuit breakers protect against a short in the wiring, and that proper wiring connections are used to protect against water intrusion and the wire connections coming undone due to the constant rattling and vibrating of a moving boat. These are some of the most essential components of sound-wiring practices.

Regular Maintenance

Even though electric motors require a lot less maintenance than gas or diesel engines, regular maintenance is still required for all boats and all boat systems for the boat to perform properly and remain safe. As part of the routine maintenance that boat owners should perform on their vessels, some of the tasks include inspecting the battery terminals for signs of corrosion, paying attention to any unusual noises, and replacing the fluids at the prescribed intervals. When purchasing a boat of any kind, you should make it a point to inquire about the upkeep schedule for the vessel and any onboard boat systems. Maintenance on an electric motor should take less than thirty minutes per year and include tasks such as replacing the gear oil and ensuring that all sensors are in operational condition. This type of maintenance should be performed annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long do electric boat motors last?

The operation of an electric boat is comparable to that of an electric car. It is powered by electricity and consists of a battery pack, a controller, and an electric motor. In addition to that, it comes with a charging controller that enables the batteries to be recharged. Both the size of the motor and the battery pack are determined by the length of the boat.

2. Why are electric boats slow?

Increasing your speed requires a greater amount of energy from the battery reserve. Electric boats travel at a lower speed than gas-powered boats of comparable size because doing so extends the life of the battery.

3. Are electric boats more efficient?

The energy conversion in an electric motor is very efficient because there is no need for an idling speed. The electric motor's efficiency is significantly higher than that of a conventional motor. This indicates that there is already a very strong torque from the very first revolution, which is one of the reasons why electric motors are capable of achieving substantially higher accelerations than their conventional counterparts.

4. How do you charge electric boats?

One can charge the battery of their electric boat motor using shore electricity. Shore power is normally provided by an AC plug that operates at a standard voltage of 120 volts. This is a relatively common plug that can be found in the infrastructure of everyday life.

Wrapping Up

There is a wide variety of electric boats available, ranging from rudimentary fishing boats to luxurious yachts. Either an internal battery or an external charger that is plugged in can provide the necessary power for them. Some electric boats get their electricity from a mix of solar panels and batteries, while others are hybrid models that also have an internal combustion engine as a backup.

Because of the positive effects, electric boats have on the environment, their popularity is growing rapidly. They have no emissions, which makes them a better choice for the environment than boats fueled by gasoline.

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