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.

Vision Marine scales up for mass production of E-Motion electric outboard

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

To meet growing demand for the high power E-Motion electric outboard, Vision Marine Technologies has partnered with the McLaren Engineering division of Linamar Corporation, an automotive parts manufacturer and supplier with 60 plants operating around the world.

The flagship 180E, with its power rating of 180 HP / 135 kW,  has been making news since its first sea trial this past May, shown in the video below.

Vision Marine first announced it was developing its proprietary power train in November of 2020 when it launched an initial public offering of shares (IPO) on the NASDAQ Market. The company sees a major opportunity in offering the outboard system – which includes the battery pack and inverter – not only to the public, but also to boat manufacturers.

Earlier this year they signed an agreement to supply Limestone Boats with the motors, starting working with Hellkats Powerboats to rig one of their Super-Sport Widebody Catamarans with twin E-Motions for challenging the world electric boat speed record, and did break the race record for electric boats at the famous Lake of The Ozarks Shootout in August.

Visin Marine pontoon boatWith the reopening of in-person boat shows this fall, Vision Marine has been able to showcase the system for the public and boat manufacturers. The IBEX show is North America’s largest trade event for recreational marine products. Vision Marine took the opportunity to mount the E-Motion 180E on a Starcraft EX 22 pontoon boat and demonstrate that the quiet of high power electric propulsion is not just for speedboats.

The agreement with Linamar is a huge step in preparing for mass production of the outboards. The company started with a single lathe in founder Frank Hasenfratz’s basement 55 years ago and now has 26,000 employees worldwide.

Linamar has major manufacturing and design capabilities focusing on products for general industry and agriculture, and another division focusing on Mobility – which encompasses everything from transmissions and auto parts to a new eLin electrification group.

E-Motion electric outboard to be mass-produced at Linamar facility

Under that, the McLaren Engineering subsidiary provides design, development, and testing services within the Mobility segment and the manufacturing side does light metal casting, forging, machining and assembly. Linamar will manufacture and assemble the E-Motion technology through testing, parts, tooling development, and designing the union assembly for mass production at Linamar’s facility in Canada.

Alex Mongeon“This agreement with Linamar via our affiliation with McLaren Engineering, is a seminal event for fully scaled commercialization of our E-Motion powertrain,” said Alexandre Mongeon, Vision Marine CEO and co-founder. “We have proven the diverse capabilities of and demand for our game changing technology and our partnership positions us to scale production for growing demand from major boating OEMs.”

CTO Mark Stoddart, CTO of Linamar, said “This is a unique opportunity for McLaren Engineering to lend its honed expertise in Vision Marine’s proprietary maritime electric powertrain system for OEMs.” Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz underlined how excited the company is to develop the precise manufacturing capability and protocols for the E-Motion electric outboards and help “transition boating propulsion to a safe and clean EV industry.”

The E-Motion 180E system includes the 180 HP (135 kW) motor, 60 kWh battery pack and BMS (battery mangement system), charger, monitor, throttle controls and all other necessary components.  Estimated range is 70 miles at a cruising speed of 20 mph or 3.5 hours, depending on the of boat, weather conditions, load and propeller. The complete package goes for about $79,000, including $27,000 for the motor.

For more information and pre-ordering, you can download a brochure from the Vision Marine Technology website.

Vision Marine to supply Limestone Boat electric powertrains

Limestone Boats

Another established boat builder jumps on board the e-train with the Limestone Boat electric drive being supplied by Vision Marine Technologies. Both companies are well known in Canadian boating and both have set their eyes in the past year on increasing their sales in the larger North American and world markets.

In December Vision Marine went public with an Initial Public Offering and listing on the NASDAQ exchange. A few months before that, in late September 2020, Limestone was purchased by marine industry veteran Scott Hanson and a team of partners and is now traded on the Toronto Venture Exchange.

Vision Marine electric outboardsOne of the big announcements with Vision Marine’s NASDAQ listing was that it would be expanding from its longstanding business of building electric boats (it was established as the Canadian Electric Boat Company in 1995) to developing and marketing its new E-Motion Electric Outboard Powertrain. The company still offers 4 electric boat models: the Volt, Bruce, Fantail and Quietude.

Limestone Boat will order a minimum of 25 of the E-Motion powertrains over the next 12 months as the initial step in its plans to significantly scale its electric boat footprint. The agreement includes Vision Marine investing $2.8M USD in Limestone through a convertible debenture.

Limestone is a heritage boat brand in Canada, with a distinctive hull renowned for its big water performance and a series of models developed by renowned designer Mark Ellis since the 1980s. Its headquarters are in Ontario, Canada and it has a 145,000 sq. ft. US manufacturing facility in Tennessee.

The goal for electrification is to focus on the 20’ to 29’ market for its stable of brands that include Limestone, Aquasport, and Boca Bay. Limestone expects to sell up to 550 boats in the 2022 calendar year.

EPA cleaner waterways good for Limestone Boat electric push

Among the things that should help in the electrification efforts is the focus by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on cleaning up U.S. waterways. Also, Vision Marine is the only electric boat engine technology company with certifications from the European Conformity, the United States Coast Guard and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Vision Marine’s new E-Motion 180-E is the first fully electric 180 HP outboard powertrain system available to the boating market, with continuous power of 110 kiloWatts. Speaking about the Limestone agreement, Alexandre Mongeon, CEO and co-founder of Vision Marine said “I am very excited about this contract and our partnership with Limestone, as it marks the beginning of the commercialization of Vision Marine’s E-Motion powertrain, the world’s most powerful electric outboard powertrains available on the market today.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Vision Marine.” said Limestone CEO Hanson. “This partnership provides us with a leading technological advantage as we move to establish Limestone and Vision Marine as leaders in transitioning the recreational boating industry to electric powertrains.”

Big power boost for torqeedo motors, batteries

Germany-based torqeedo definitely makes the most stylish electric boat motors available and is a leader in performance durability as well.

Now they have increased the power on their top-end Deep Blue line of inboard and outboard motors with the introduction of 100kW motors. The 100kW motors are comparable to a 150HP fossil fuel motor.

The motors come in two versions: a low-rpm version for displacement boats and a high-rpm version for planing boats.

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More powerful batteries developed with BMW

In addition, the company has launched an upgraded, higher capacity 40 kWh battery that features 30% more capacity in the same footprint and an energy density of 144 Wh per kg.

The battery has been developed in the course of adapting BMW’s i3 electric car batteries for the marine market. Among other things, the companies are partners in the ‘Malizia’, a 60’ racing yacht being optimized for the world’s toughest solo sporting competition, the Vendee Globe in 2020.

The 30% increase in energy and energy density will also extend to torqeedo’s 24V batteries, used for their line of outboard ‘Cruise’ motors. Based on the new capacity, the 24V battery gets a new name: Power 24-3500, featuring an impressive energy density of 138 Wh per kg.