How fast can you go with an electric outboard motor?
If you are running a powerful motor on a small boat at full speed, you might be able to do 15 knots or better. Usually, you won't go that fast when you are in a dinghy and running an electric motor.
If you want to make it as far as possible, you will run the motor on much less than full power. Fifteen knots is what you might get if you are running a powerful 6000 watt motor on a small boat. Normal speeds are slower - you might move at less than five knots if you want to travel as many miles as possible before the battery dies.
How far can you make it in a dinghy with an electric motor?
Something like 20 miles is a rough, ballpark figure, although with some motors, you might be able to make it 70 miles at a slow speed. Don't take any risks when it comes to whether or not your battery will run out in the middle of the sea. Be on the safe side.
You will do much better if you run your motor at a slower speed. If you run your motor as fast as possible, you might make it only a fraction of the maximum distance before your battery runs out. Distances high above 20 miles are sometimes possible if you go slow, although it depends on the boat and the motor.
How is power measured for electric motors?
The power of an electric motor is usually measured in watts, not horsepower. Sometimes the power of an electric motor is given in horsepower, but usually in watts.
Boat motors vary greatly in how powerful they are. A motor that is only 10hp, 5hp, or 3hp is common even though outboard motors can be 20hp or more.
Usually, you can go more like 5 knots than 15 knots with an electric or gas motor. To go 15 knots, you might need something like a 100hp motor - this is too expensive and not what people are likely to put on a small dinghy.
What are the advantages of gas motors?
In the long run, electric motors can save you money because it costs less to keep them running. After the first few years, electric motors are the cheaper choice.
The maintenance cost per hour of use is much higher for petrol motors. After only a few hundred hours of use, a petrol motor's cost will exceed the cost of an electric motor.
One disadvantage of electric motors is that they run on batteries, which take time to charge. You will have to charge your batteries overnight, compared to quickly refueling a gas engine.
One way out of this problem is to use a solar charger. With a solar charger, you can charge your batteries anywhere as long as the sun is out.
Electric outboard motor advantages
As well as being effectively cheaper than gas motors, electric motors are much quieter. Compared to a gas engine, an electric motor is almost silent. You will hear almost nothing and will not scare fish away.
Electric motors are also much cleaner to deal with than gas motors. If you use an electric motor, you won't have to deal with engine grease. You can get engine grease on your boat and not just on your hands and clothes with a gas motor.
Gas motors also have exhaust fumes, so an electric motor is better for your health. Electric motors are also simpler than gas motors, so you won't have to repair them as often.
Is it possible to buy high powered electric outboard motors?
Yes, you can find an electric motor with a power equivalent to an 80 horsepower gas engine. Not many people put such powerful motors on their dinghies, though. Dinghies mostly have weaker motors, often less than five horsepower.
Is it easy to break a propeller if you hit something?
You can definitely do expensive damage to a propeller if it hits a rock. A small bump won't damage it - most propellers are made well and are reasonably durable. If your motor does not come with a propeller guard, you should buy one separately.
Are 3hp motors good enough for many boats, or are they too weak for most purposes?
If you are using a small dinghy that weighs less than two tons, and do not intend to go very fast, a 3hp motor is good enough. You can go much faster than trolling speed with only a 3hp motor if your craft is small enough. For a small sailboat that weighs more like six tons than one or two tons, a 10hp motor may be enough.
Best electric outboard motors
Make sure you buy a high-quality motor because these are not tiny investments. You can lose more than a little money if you buy a shoddy product that does not have a good warranty. Put a bit of time into verifying the reliability of whatever you purchase.
1) ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus
If you are fine with a fairly weak 3HP motor, the Spirit 1.0 Plus is a great product with few disadvantages. The Spirit 1.0 Plus from ePropulsion is built to last, uses power efficiently, and doesn't cost a fortune.
At full speed, the Spirit will only last for about 90 minutes on a single battery. With a 12 foot boat, you can go about 9 km/h - not bad for a relatively low power engine. You also do not need to run the boat on full power to approach your boat's maximum speed.
If you run the Spirit on 1/4 power, you can keep it going for 6 or 8 hours. Batteries are fairly heavy, but you can keep the motor running for a long time if you bring extra batteries. The motor can save you in a dangerous situation and is great for non-emergency uses as well.
Another advantage of the Spirit is that the battery floats, so it won't sink if you drop it in the water. The Spirit is also light, even with the powerful battery it comes with. The digital display that shows how much battery power you have left is accurate.
Like other electric boat motors, the Spirit is more environmentally friendly and healthier than a gas engine. Gas engines have fuel leakage and fumes; an electric motor avoids these problems. The Spirit even comes with a 180W solar panel to charge it, although this is not the only or the fastest way of charging the battery.
The motor even has a remote control, so you can steer it and adjust the speed with a console. If the Spirit has a disadvantage, it is that the range on a single battery is unimpressive. You can make it a little more than 20 miles, but many other electric motors let you go farther on a single battery.
2) ePropulsion Navy 6.0
If you are looking for something longer lasting than and more powerful than the Spirit 1.0 Plus, ePropulsion also offers the more powerful Navy 6.0. The Navy 6.0 is equivalent to a 10Hp engine, so it won't struggle to move a relatively big boat.
The range on the Navy 6.0 is impressive. The battery is powerful enough that you can travel 40 miles before having to recharge. If you want to bring more than one battery, the Navy 6.0 can be compatible with other companies' batteries.
The Navy 6.0 also has a propeller that will stop immediately if it hits anything. This can save your engine from damage if the propeller hits a rock or anything else. There is also an emergency stop kill switch to
The Navy 6.0 works just as well in freshwater as in saltwater. It is advantageous to have an electric motor on a lake because there are laws against gas motors in some lakes.
3) Torquedo Travel 1003
One thing that makes the Torquedo Travel stand out is its onboard GPS computer, which can calculate how far you can travel before the battery runs out. The computer will continuously update how far you can travel based on how much battery power is left, how fast you are going, and how much power you are using.
While the Torquedo Travel can run for 10 or 11 hours on a full charge, it can only move a small boat at 1.5 or 2 knots for that long. If you run the engine at half throttle, it will last for 3.5 hours at 3 knots. If you travel faster, the battery runs out very fast - it will only last half an hour at 5 knots.
If you want a solar charger for the motor, you can buy it separately from the company. It is costly, but the solar panels do work well and give you a way to charge the battery at sea.
The Torquedo Travel is also a small and light motor that does not take up much room. Without the battery, it weighs only 8.9 kilograms. You can easily remove and store the engine.
Another useful feature is the kill switch that allows you to stop the motor immediately in an emergency. You can also use the engine/battery as a power source for electronics through a USB.
The Torquedo is a reliable engine backed by a two-year warranty. It is equivalent only to a 3HP engine, so it is not powerful enough for everyone.
4) Torquedo Cruise 4.0 T
The Torquedo Cruise is the best choice if you want a more powerful alternative to the Torquedo Travel. The Torquedo Cruise electric outboard motor is equivalent to an 8HP gas engine. If you need a motor for a boat that weighs three or four tons instead of one or two tons, get the Cruise instead of the Travel.
The Torquedo Cruise will stay completely waterproof for a long time and not develop small leaks quickly. Small leaks can ruin some of the cheaper engines on the market. The Torquedo Cruise is also very corrosion resistant, so you can use it in saltwater for a long time without damage.
The Torquedo Cruise has the same onboard GPS computer, emergency off switch, and two-year warranty as the Torquedo Travel does. The only disadvantage compared to the Torquedo Travel is the higher price. Not everyone needs a more powerful motor, but it is an excellent engine if you do.