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The Norfolk Broads Forum / Broads Boat Owners Q & A / Electric Inboards/Hybrid Propulsion
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Electric Inboards/Hybrid Propulsion

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Ifafa
Jun-13-2015 @ 2:49 PM                           Permalink
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I am growing increasing interested in going over to an electric
propulsion system on my craft, at the very least a hybrid system.
I have noticed a few private boats around that appear to have electric
engines and may I say that it is always a breath of fresh air to see
them.....quite literally.
From what I make out, an inboard with 48 volts should go at least 3
hours and possibly more at low river speeds.
I would like to hear from anyone who has an electric inboard, as I am
curious just how effective solar panels are at charging up 4 batteries
ready for another trip?


The reward of patience,  is patience.

This message was edited by Ifafa on Jun-13-15 @ 3:50 PM

Cocklegat
Jun-13-2015 @ 4:02 PM                           Permalink
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A good place to start might be here:
http://www.electric-boat-association.org.uk/solar.htm

ruby
Jun-15-2015 @ 6:48 AM                           Permalink
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Hi there

I am afraid I do not have one fitted but I did look into it last year. I think the answer to your question is that solar panels won't recharge  the batteries sufficiently on their own.

You will need to fit an external generator  to provide mains electricity to power a charger or you will have to always moor where  mains electricity is available to enable you to recharge the battery bank.

So.ar panels will keep the battery bank topped up but will not provide enough energy  to recharge the batteries after heavy or extended use.

I f you discover differently I would love to know as I think it is a great idea

Graham





seventh-heaven
Jun-15-2015 @ 7:46 PM                           Permalink
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The range is not dependant on the voltage, it is dependant on the capacity and size of the battery. You state 3 hours, but with a battery twice the size you could probably do 6 hours and still at 48 volts.

The biggest issue with range is the ability to carry the size and weight of battery. I would like to do a similar thing on my 28ft sailing river cruiser, but have concluded a hybrid system with a very small generator is probably necessary.

AndyH

expilot
Jun-15-2015 @ 8:25 PM                           Permalink
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It's not just a matter of Amp hours either.  The way the batteries are constructed will play a significant part in the way they behave and their longevity.

I have been involved with electric boats since 1989.  My own dayboat, Lucy, is a sixteen foot Jack Powles 1948 launch converted to electric motor propulsion in 1992.  She is powered by a 1.4Kw 48v DC motor continuously rated series wound motor running off eight, six volt deep cycle traction batteries.  The batteries have just been replaced at a cost of £1000.  They lasted sixteen years! Drawing approximately 15 Amps "Lucy" runs at 4mph literally all day long (tide strength and direction permitting of course)  

We used to attend the annual Silent Sensation event at Salhouse.  We would travel in Lucy from Potter Heigham to Salhouse, spend a few hours pootling around Salhouse giving rides round the Broad and then cruise back to Potter.  Because "Lucy" is used every single day of 365, I used to enjoy running her round for several days after such a journey and without re-charging her batteries.  She seemed to thrive on it.  Ironically, most of the electric boats had travelled all the way from Horning!  Being Thames based, as most were, their owners were congratulating themselves on reaching Salhouse, but wondering whether they would make it back.  "Lucy" never missed a beat.

If I had the courage I'd convert "Broadland Swift" to battery power too.  She currently carries a Lister Freedom Four diesel beauty coupled to a Blackstone gearbox.  Combined weight is more than a tonne!  That's a lot of batteries.  Add to that "Swifts" eighty gallons of diesel and ten gallons of engine oil, if I remove her diesel and oil, two fuel tanks and a remote oil tank, I remove another 0.4 tonne.  I think a tonne and a half of batteries would more than easily fit into the cavern left behind by the engine, gearbox and tanks removal.  I would probably go up to 72v rather than 48v.

At this point I need to add that this is not a green crusade.  The electricity stored in the batteries still has to be produced somewhere.  No, my choice is purely aesthetic.  I adore the peace and quiet, the absence of vibration and none of that unmistakable smell of diesel.  

I need to confess, too, to having a wetsheds for each boat, both with electricity fitted and being able to leave the charger shore-based inside the shed rather than being housed in the boat.

I know that I am lucky.

"There are old pilots.  There
are bold pilots............."


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