Mercury Marine is launching an electric outboard in 2022

This content is from Plugboats – “everything electric boats and boating”

The much anticipated Mercury electric outboard created a big buzz with its unveiling at the Miami International Boat Show last week. The motor on display was a concept model designed to showcase the main features of the new line – named ‘Avator‘ – with the formal release and models for sale coming later this year.

There has been a lot of talk since last year about one of the world’s largest gas outboard manufacturers going electric. Mercury Marine President Chris Drees said at the company’s Investor Day in May of 2021 that “We’ll launch five new electric outboard models by 2023, and intend to be the market leader in both conventional and electric marine propulsion by the end of that year.”

Roughly 1 out of every 2 boats in the U.S. recreational boat fleet are powered by Mercury products, and the company has a tradition of innovation that goes back to the first Thunderbolt gas outboard in 1947. So when they put their technical people on a new project, they are bringing unique experience and expertise.

Mercury electric outboard features swappable battery

Full view of Mercury electric outboardThey also have 80 years of customer feedback. Talking about the Avator concept, Drees said “Our team is taking everything we know about how consumers use our products and incorporating it into Avator, creating an electric propulsion system that will set a new benchmark for the marine industry.”

One of the features of the Avator that stands out compared to other electric outboards is a battery pack that slips in and out of the top of the cowling’s hinged ‘lid’.

Just as with electric vehicles, the idea of range is one of the main psychological barriers for consumers who are used to fossil fuel motors. The Avator’s swappable battery is a tidy and easy solution. An extra battery can be taken aboard and double the range in seconds.

The batteries are taken home to charge from a home outlet, which also adds to the portability of the unit as a whole. It can also be charged from a marina pillar, of course.

Tim Reid, Mercury Marine vice president of product development & engineering says “We believe features like easily changeable batteries and quiet operation hold great appeal for current and prospective boaters.”

“Broad portfolio of low-horsepower outboards”

Naturally, people are also interested in what kind of power will be available with the Avator electric outboard line. In response to questions on the Mercury Marine YouTube channel, the company has said:

We can’t speak to horsepower quite yet, since we are still developing the product. We can tell you we’re excited about the possibilities that the Avator series will provide. This initial concept will have applications for fishing, cruising and nature watching.

The concept is representative of a broader portfolio of low-horsepower outboards Mercury will launch later this year and next. Additional offerings will have applications for use on many small boats, including pontoons, tenders and sailboats, as well as for improving access to boating in areas where traditional fuel sources aren’t available or allowed.

You can sign up to receive Avator updates on the Mercury Marine website.

Digital connectivity new for gas outboard owners

Another benefit of the  Avator that will be new to gas outboard users is the digital connectivity that an electric system provides. This is another area where Mercury being part of the Brunswick corporation brings a lot of value.

Mercury electric outboard diigistal screenThe Brunswick ASG (Advanced Systems Group) division includes companies like Simrad, C-Map, and C-Zone that are global leaders in things like charting, autopilot and digital control and monitoring. Other companies in the division include the lithium-ion battery experts at Mastervolt and RELion.

“Electrification is strategically important to us, and this concept provides a first look at how we intend to deliver on our commitment to being the industry leader in both internal combustion products and electric propulsion,” says Drees. “We are taking efficiency to a new level, opening up new ways to enjoy the boating experience.”

Check out the videos below for a run through of the Mercury electric outboard look and features, comments from Chris Drees and an interview from the Miami Boat Show with Jim Hergert, Senior Category Manager of Mercury Marine.

BCI Marine bringing electric boat fast chargers to Canada

This content is from Plugboats – “everything electric boats and boating”

It has been quite a year already for Aqua superPower’s network of electric boat fast chargers: expansion to Canada, Italy and Spain coming on the heels of installations with the UK’s largest marina operator.

The mission of Aqua superPower is to “reduce the impact of boating on the marine environment through the development of an all-electric and integrated global ecosystem of marine superchargers.” Theirs are the first superchargers to be specifically engineered and rated for use in marine environments, built to IP65 standards and constructed using Hydro CIRCAL recycled aluminium.

world map of electric boat fast chargers networkThe electric boat fast chargers have AC and DC 25kW-150kW power and can be used for everything from recreational electric and hybrid boats to electric jet-skis, super yacht tenders, commercial vessels and passenger ferries. Aqua will own, operate, and maintain the network with their own cloud-based system and users have an app with maps of charger options and navigational aids to charger locations.

Alex Bamberg, CEO of Aqua superPower, says “In the marine environment, access to charging infrastructure that offers a reliable plug & charge experience, with features like charge point visibility, is absolutely essential if we are to develop the confidence to transition away from polluting liquid carbon fuels.”

Monaco, Mediterranean, MDL and Miami

The first Aqua superPower chargers were installed in 2019 in Monaco, as the flagship in a network extending along the Mediterranean to ports like Cannes and St. Tropez. In 2021 they received a grant from the UK’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition and were showcased at the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow for their work with the Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL) in Plymouth.

A few weeks later MDL Marinas signed up with Aqua to have the electric boat fast chargers installed at five UK marinas with a total of 1,721 boat berths. There is a big upside to this, as MDL manages over 7,000 berths and operates 20 major marinas and boatyards in the UK and Europe.

In February of 2022 at the Miami International Boat Show‘s new Charged! Electric Pavilion, Aqua superPower was one of the lead exhibitors, along with the Nautique GS22E electric water sport boat and the Vision Marine Technologies E-Motion 180E electric outboard.

Speaking about North American opportunities, CEO Bamberg said “While the marine sector may lag others in terms of deployment, the massive growth of electric vehicles on the highway has proved that electrification is the way forward. The requirement for a joined-up network of reliable and fast marine chargers to create charging hubs and corridors for electric boat users is absolutely crucial if we are to secure the transition away from liquid carbon fuels.”

While there has not yet been a major announcement for an Aqua superPower network in the US market, the expectation is there will be an announcement soon as Aqua partners and expands in other countries.

Electric boat fast chargers for Canada, Italy, Spain

Canada: January 11, 2022

Aqua superPower announced an agreement with BCI Marine to have the superchargers installed at BCI partner locations. The provinces of Ontario and Quebec in central Canada will be the first to receive the chargers, with the first expected to be in place for the launch of the Canadian summer boating season in mid-May.

“We know that for the electric boat market to truly launch in Canada, a conveniently available super charging network is essential” says Patrick Hardy, President of BCI Marine.

“We introduced the all-electric X-Shore EELEX 8000 to the Canadian market last fall, with other electric brands to be launched soon. Other electric boat builders will come to market too, so strategically, BCI Marine taking the initiative to introduce electric boat fast chargers is the right, responsible, and logical next step, for the Canadian consumer, and marine dealers.”

Italy: March 1, 2022

electric boat fast charger on pillar in Venice

In Italy Aqua has announced a strategic partnership with e-concept, creators of the electric boat chargers that have been designed to look like the traditional wooden mooring posts – ‘palina’ – used for centuries on the canals of Venice. They will be working together to install public Type 2 AC charging infrastructure in Venice, other inland waterways and European lakes.

Both e-concept and Aqua superPower were at the Venice e-Regatta last June and their agreement to work together will make a compelling electric boat charging solution for the many installations where environmental, cultural and heritage factors need to be considered.

“We look forward to working with Aqua on the integration of their hardware and software within our product for AC systems and are proud for our technology to be part of the world’s first marine fast charging network.” said Matteo Bartoli, co-founder of e-concept.

Spain: March 3, 2022

The Catalan Association of Tourist Marinas (ACPET) has partnered with Aqua superPower to promote the creation of a network of connected marine fast-charging services for its members, which account for 87% of all port concessions granted in Catalonia.

Representatives from Aqua superPower and ACPET shake hands

Through the partnership, Aqua superPower will supply and install its high-power smart grid marine chargers at no cost to the site owner/operator, creating an infrastructure for electric boats and charging corridors along the 580 km (360 mi) of Catalonia’s coastline.

“At ACPET we want to help our members achieve their sustainability and decarbonization goals. We’re delighted to be partnering with Aqua superPower to be able to support people wishing to make their boating more sustainable by offering rapid charging and network infrastructure for electric boat users across our marinas.” says Albert Bertran, President of ACPET.

Fast electric boat chargers for fast electric boats

This growth by Aqua is definitely impressive, but also just a hint of what is to come. A report from IDTechEx estimates that “the market for hybrid and pure electric boats and ships will rise rapidly to over $20 billion worldwide in 2027“.  Assuming the boat market continues to grow in line with historical trends, it is likely there will be more than 1 million electric boats by 2030. They all need to be charged somewhere!

The other part of the story is that the market for electric boats in the past was largely for low kiloWatt cruising models with owners happy to charge the batteries overnight. There is increasing demand for high power motors and the desire to quickly charge and get back out on the water. (As a quick glance through the ‘Recreational Boats‘ category of Plugboats will show).

As Aqua superPower’s Alex Bamberg points out, “When you’re asking a consumer to make a significant investment in an electric boat, you want to assure them they can have the charging that suits their lifestyle.”