Electric Boats

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Greenline makes diesel, hybrid and fully electric boats

We purchased a Greenline 39 Hybrid which we are happy with. We can choose between using the Diesel engine or the electric motor. We usually use the electric motor while moving about in marinas and in no wake zones and switch to diesel once clear of those areas.

But Greenline also makes fully electric boats which have been used by the charter industry in Europe for cruising the canals. They definitely don’t have the cruising range of their diesel and hybrid drive boats, but if you only want to travel 20 or 30 nm per day, then you might want to take a look at these boats.

SV at present I’m seeing persistent changes in weather which is effecting my boating and travel. On a egocentric, selfish basis I don’t like it. I have children and grandchildren who will deal with further weather related difficulties such as mass migration from low latitude countries due to increasing lack of arable land. That migration is already impacting and adding to my country’s problems. So I’ve hit a point that “drill baby drill” makes no sense when it’s used as a surrogate for denying the problem. Refining needs to be reworked to produce more diesel and less gasoline. Extraction needs to occur to prevent Putin like blackmail.
Surprisingly I agree we need to be independent of foreign sources for petro and petrochemicals. We also need to be independent for Li, trace elements and metals to allow the conversion. Conversion to petro independence for heavy machinery, trucking and ship transport may be slower than for personal transportation imho. But it’s occurring now.
Your statement about “a long way off” seems not to be borne out. I preordered a R1T. At the trim level I want it’s the same cost as a F150 (after the $7500 tax rebate) and it’s operating costs are a fraction of either the gas or diesel versions of the Ford. On their web site and corporate report it’s noted Amazon ordered 100,000 vehicles. These are being made NOW with some on the road already. My truck shows up near the end of 2023 as I didn’t get on the reservation list that soon. The conversion is happening now not a long way off. Everything from no propane stoves in newly constructed houses to nothing but zero footprint buildings for new construction in my states capital.
Problem with cruising boats is range. Mr. Leigh Jones boat is a hybrid. I buy one if I could afford it or build something smaller to get under 20m. But I can’t. I realize it’s value will time out but stuck with it in my economic setting. I’m not alone. There will be a market for diesel recreational vessels for the foreseeable future. But inevitably things will continue to shift for new construction. Greenline is only one of many builders responding to this reality. Still like many here have enough solar to avoid the genset. With my zero footprint house and upcoming shifts in personal vehicles my footprint has and will continue to decrease. This is increasingly true for many Americans. The driver isn’t altruism but rather economics and security.
Steve we are now converting as a society. Go for a drive anywhere in this country and see the solar fields or up here the offshore wind farms. It isn’t a “long way off” but is within your lifetime.
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Even more difficult than refining more diesel is getting a Li mine permitted. The road blocks to US LI energy independence are numerous and ever increasing. Clearing these road blocks requires government backbone, a precious commodity.
Hippocampus- while I share your general sentiment, I do not agree we are anywhere close to even early adopter for EV for boats if for no other reason than infrastructure. A gallon of diesel is equivalent to roughly 35kw. My boat has 120v/30a service, but let's say it had 240v/50a. That's 12kw max meaning that if you could somehow convert all input current into charging input, would take 3-hours of charge for each gallon of diesel. And that's before talking about battery capacity and range anxiety.

Hopefully, someone will crack the code here, but that's not on the horizon. Right now, only viable option would be some sort of plug-in hybrid style with a massive generator for longer distances and a modest size battery bank for day-trips.

As I said above
There will be a market for diesel recreational vessels for the foreseeable future.

I understand due to energy density for present nothing can compete with diesel for recreational trawlers. Not electric nor hydrogen. Once you want 100-240nm for a days work and pure electric can give only 30-50nm at best diesel wins out. In past decisions when full time cruising electric didn’t even make sense for our dinghy given our use pattern.
You have the combination of wind and solar generators being inefficient. They are further limited by space requirements and unreliable amounts of generation. Add in poor energy density of batteries and the physics, size and expense are against pure electric for long or even moderate range recreational trawlers.
However, as diesel is likely to remain expensive and hybrid is already a viable alternative do believe the shift to more efficient hull design and use of “clean” energy for hotel loads as well as short range propulsion will continue. Now have a full year with our new to us boat.
We’ve used it in two fashions. Very short day trips throughout either Naragansett or Chesapeake Bays. These could be served by electric. Or long jumps of continuous operation of 24-72 hours with short rest periods between the next long jump until the destination is reached. It’s here I don’t see a replacement for diesel for some time to come.
With that pattern existing shore power units in current slip marinas would take a long time to recharge a bank. Onboard generators would not be adequate to maintain desired speed. So once again range is the limitation. It’s not like a car where in twenty minutes you can 150 miles of range with a high speed charger.
Personal vehicles have the opportunity to use high speed chargers with the grid of these already built or being built or with minimal expense low speed at home with existing infrastructure. This situation doesn’t translate for boats. I don’t see marinas putting in high speed chargers until a demand exists. I don’t see with the limitations of pure electric for boats this occurring anytime soon.
But the outlook for hybrid boats is different. Although electric may make inroads in the various forms of day boats it’s hybrid that I think will be increasingly more popular for cruising boats. You change cruising regions rarely if at all. Majority of use is of short or moderate range. You will always want the reliability and ease of getting adequate range regardless of weather or locale. Look at your use pattern Peter. Would a hybrid better serve you? Think it would for most people on this site. Problem is it’s just so damn expensive to build a new boat and hybrid is a 10-20% premium over diesel alone. So the current fleet will age out. A fraction of those who can afford it will go hybrid. Those vessels will be gold when sold which will encourage others to do hybrid new construction. But it will take time.
Update on our solar electric/fossil fuel free powercat build project (November 2022):

3. The Broadblue 346 has just gone into the mould at the production yard in Sczeczin, Poland and should be ready for transfer to the UK in late April 2023. Main propulsion will be 2 x 6kW ePropulsion pod motors powered by up to 16 E80 batteries (total capacity 64kWh). The transfer journey will be via the inland waterways of Germany and the Netherlands in the main and will be featured in PBR. The dinghy tender's 6kW outboard can be transferred onto the catamaran to act as a third motor for longer passages. The solar panel estate installation (up to 3.1kWp) will occur at Broadblue's base in Hampshire. There will also be 4 wind turbines (one at each corner of the boat), a kite sail, and a drogue.

The USPs of our project are (1) a fossil fuel free liveaboard cruiser with a range of 70 nm at hull speed of 8kn, more than double that at 5kn, or unlimited at 4kn; (2) an FFF 'exploration style' dinghy tender capable of day excursions up to 10nm away from the mothership; (3) both catamaran and dinghy being adapted to the needs of a mobility impaired (but NOT wheelchair using) 1st mate; and (4) the whole to cost well below half a million dollars (incl. VAT).
I wish you luck on the project, but wondered how it pencilled out: 16 hp max on a 34' cat is expected to push it at 8 knots? And 64 KWH / 12 kw * 8 knots gets you 70 nm? Like other electric boat projects, I struggle with the math.

I think there will be practical electric trawlers, but only after there is a revolution in battery development, solar cell development, and marina infrastructure. It seems to me all three are necessary to achieve practicality. Mr. Fusion might occur sooner.
Great project If. Surprised this can be done at under 1/2m. I’m into more than that for a used 42 sd diesel trawler.
As a prior live aboard experienced times we needed the diesel and even needed the genset when at rest. Days of no sun or no wind. No production from either our wind generators nor our solar sufficient to keep up with hotel loads with the AC off. On a sailboat our hotel loads were very modest as our water cooled frig/freezers we’re efficient as were our DC low volume spectra watermaker. From your post I infer you will be doing inland waterways and short hop coastal. But I still don’t see how can you escape a outside source for charging. I can envision multiple scenarios where you need to travel or meet house loads and your wind/solar cannot meet the demand.
Do you plan to have a generator? If so what kW? One would think parallel hybrid would be more efficient to meet propulsion demands when required and still allow hotel loads to be meet by onboard clean energy when available . That would also allow the safety of redundant sources for both.
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Majority of use is of short or moderate range. You will always want the reliability and ease of getting adequate range regardless of weather or locale. Look at your use pattern Peter. Would a hybrid better serve you? Think it would for most people on this site. Problem is it’s just so damn expensive to build a new boat and hybrid is a 10-20% premium over diesel alone.....

Toyota (and likely others) are introducing plug-in hybrid cars that have a range of about 40 miles on battery alone. After that, they switch to hybrid mode with engine running mostly to charge batteries. There is also some regenerative braking to replenish even when under battery alone. I'd reckon the overall 40-mile range represents less than a gallon of gasoline equivalency. Easily recharged overnight.

That is exactly where many sailboats are headed. More performance oriented so you can suffice without motor assist more often. Several well heeled YouTube cruisers are leading the way on this.

Maybe enough changes that our relatively efficient powerboats can follow into the battery/hybrid scenario. But let's be clear: even the Tesla and Ford Lightning (F150) have battery equivalents in the range of 10 gallons of gasoline. That would get me about 50 miles which would be great - in many areas (such as ICW), I could cruise comfortably. But my Willard 36 is a small boat and not comfortable for most, and slow, another pause for many.

A lot needs to change before there's a path of any consequence to electric for a powerboat. User expectations need to change, design efficiency (as sailors have done), infrastructure availability, and of course underlying technology in batteries and efficiency.

I hope it happens sooner rather than later, but I just don't see it happening anytime soon. Will keep an eye on trucking industry - they will clear whatever hurdles that will cascade down to boats.

Totally agree Peter PHEV is the way to go for many. Unfortunately Toyota doesn’t offer a PHEV pickup. There’s light and heavy hybrid. Think most will not pay for light versions like what Jeep is offering. 20m doesn’t get you by even living in suburbia for basic chores. Believe that translates to boats as well. Either get sufficient range for the day sails we do or forget about it as it’s not worth the money. Just being able to move around in a marina doesn’t justify hybrid. Multiple people are putting their money where their mouth is. A few like If in pure electric but more in various forms of hybrid mated to efficient multihulls or LDL monohulls. This would work for your or my use pattern and likely decrease our diesel consumption by well over 50%.

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