Electric boat company IPO raises over $27 million

Vision Marine Technologies electric boat

Vision Marine Technologies, formerly the Canadian Electric Boat Company, today announced the closing of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 2,760,000 common shares at a price of US$10.00 per share, which includes 360,000 shares sold upon full exercise of the underwriter’s option to purchase additional common shares.

The gross proceeds from the offering, including the exercise of the over-allotment option, were US$27,600,000, before deducting underwriting discounts, commissions and offering expenses.

The electric boat company was founded in 2012 in Quebec, Canada and has built and offered a variety of electric boats since then, ranging from the classic cruising style Fantail to the Volt 180 and Phoenix 290. They are also involved with a number of electric boat rental companies.

The name Vision Marine Technologies reflects their plan to move beyond ‘just boats. and be a technology company at the forefront of the electric marine propulsion market in every aspect.

Vision Marine developing new electric powertrain

Visin Marine prototype electric outboardThe Volt 180 hit a speed of 30mph (48kmh / 26 kts) to set a record for the electric boat competition in the famed Lake of the Ozarks Shootout races in August last year. The Phoenix, a 19 foot, ten passenger open boat, was introduced at the Miami Boat Show back in February (remember February !) at the 2020 Miami Boat Show.

Both of the high speed boats have been powered by Torqeedo Deep Blue outboards, and the company also uses motors from Piktronik, ePropulsion, E-tech and Minn-Kota – but in the prospectus for the IPO Vision Marine outlined plans for its own electric outboard powertrain, the E-motion:

that combines an advanced battery pack, inverter, and high efficiency motor with proprietary union assembly between the transmission and the electric motor design and extensive control software. Our E-Motion technologies used in this powertrain system are designed to improve the efficiency of the outboard powertrain and, as a result, increase range and performance

The first of the E-motion electric outboard systems will have a peak power of 135kW / 180 HP and continuous power of 9kW / 120 HP. The motor itself will weigh in at 188 kg  / 413 lbs and will be powered by lithium batteries. It appears that the powertrains will be assembled using components from different companies, with the motors purchased from UQM Technologies and Dana TM4.

The business plan is to market the powertrains to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) rather than the public, and they have received Letters Of Intent from OEMs for 186 powertrains in the first year of production growing to 504 powertrains for the year ended August 31, 2024.

Latest electric boat company to raise significant money

This IPO is just the latest example of the growing interest in electric boating from investors and the public at large. Most other companies have gone the route of crowdfunding campaigns to raise capital, but some of those campaigns have allowed the public to acquire equity.


The Finnish company, one of the pioneers and great innovators of electric boat motors, used the Invesdor crowdfunding platform to blow past its original €600k target to raise €2M in May of 2019. Then this past September another equity crowdfunding was well above target on its opening day and ended up closing with investments of € 2.25M.

GreenStar Marine

Sweden’s GreenStar Marine, another motor company that focuses largely on the sailing market, went over its target by 230% with 314 investors contributing €480k for 4.66% of the company’s shares.


Italy’s DeepSpeed has a revolutionary electric hydrojet motor, the promise of which has driven the company’s capitalization from € 2.1M  in 2019 to € 13.5M currently. That includes a crowdfunder that reached its goal within 48 hours and netted €520K in just 10 days.

X Shore

The Swedish electric boat company is another that participated in the crowdfunding market, raising €1.5M in October of 2019. That was followed  by a private investment of €5M (US$ 5.7M) from a group led by veterinary hospital executive Peter Dahlberg.

Congratulations to Vision Marine Technologies. The electric boat market in 2012 was nowhere near what it is now and Executives Alexandre Mongeon, Patrick Bobby and Robert Ghetti have been instrumental in building awareness of the benefits of electric boats.

The company is now in an excellent position to reap the rewards of their work as the market evolves and grows. As noted in their prospectus, it is anticipated that sales of electric boats and motors will almost triple in the next few years, from about US$4.5 billion in 2018 to US$12.32 billion in 2027.

New Niagara Falls electric ferries have set sail!

Two Niagara Falls electric ferries launch a new era Tuesday, October 6, when they start taking passengers right up to (and back from) the thundering waters at the base of the international tourist attraction without using a single drop of fuel. The Maid of the Mist corporation that operates them notes they are ” the first two new all-electric, zero-emission passenger vessels in the United States.”

The commissioning of the ferries was first announced in May of 2019 and they were scheduled to be in service about this time last year, but ran into delays. Better late than never, though, and 2020 is definitely a year when we can all get some joy out of celebrating good things like this!

The Nikola Tesla and James V. Glynn

The two catamarans are charged after each trip to 80% capacity by a system from ABB, who worked on the landmark project with the Maid of the Mist company, the New York State Parks and the New York Power Authority.

One of the boats is named Nikola Tesla, for obvious reasons, while the other, the James V. Glynn, is named after a man who worked for Maid of the Mist for 70 years, most recently as its chairman.

James Glynn Maid of The MistMr. Glynn joined Maid of the Mist in 1950 as a ticket seller and purchased the company in 1971. Now 86 years old, he was at the private launching ceremony on Monday and told NPR (National Public Radio) “My first job at the Maid was having a palm of pamphlets. I gave you a pamphlet and a ticket and I asked for a dollar. The ticket was 90 cents for the boat and ten cents for the elevator.”

The Maid of the Mist is one of North America’s longest-running tourist attractions, first launched in 1846. Having been on the trip myself, I can tell you it is an incredible experience. You board the boats in the calm waters downstream from the Falls, then slowly make your way toward them as the sound grows louder and louder.

Within a few minutes, you feel you are almost close enough to reach out of the boat and touch the 680,000 gallons of water falling every second, yelling to be heard by your fellow passengers and it’s then that you begin to wonder if the boat has enough power to move away or if it will get sucked into the maelstrom and smashed to smithereens.

Niagara Falls electric ferries perfect for the demands

Electric ferries are actually perfect for the trip because they have high torque motors which deliver power instantly. On the diesel boats, you can feel the ferry shaking as the engines build up enough thrust to pull away from the Falls.

The Nikola Tesla and James V. Glynn replace two diesel-fueled boats – Maid of the Mist VI and Maid of the Mist VII. The first has already been retired while the company will hold on to Maid of the Mist VII for the short term as they transition to electric.

The first guests will be able to board the new electric vessels at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Canada approves 1st lithium-ion commercial passenger boat

Alutasi li-ion fishing boat

A lithium-ion commercial passenger boat that can take up to 25 guests out deep sea fishing in the waters around Halifax, Nova Scotia, is the first such boat to gain safety approval from Canada’s Marine Technical Review Board.

Most recently a diesel powered whale watching/harbour tour boat, the 44 footer is owned by Ambassatours Gray Line and was converted by Glas Ocean Electric with financial assistance and grants from a variety of public and private sources, including Nova Scotia Power and Canada’s national Research Council.

Alam SyleboyAlong with the propulsion makeover she received a bright hull mural depicting various ocean animals designed by world renowned indigenous artist Alan Syliboy of the Mi’kmaq (pronounced meeg mah) First Nations. The vibrant images, inspired by Mi’kmaq petroglyphs, were made into a hull wrap by Mattatall Signs. The new name of the boat, ‘Alutasi‘ is Mi’kmaq for ‘a boat that guides to the best fishing’

The launching of the boat also paid tribute to the Mi’kmag. Instead of the traditional bottle of champagne being broken across the bow, she received a smudge blessing in a traditional Water Protector Ceremony led by elder Dorene Bernard.

Lithium-ion commercial passenger boat a team effort

It took 17 months for the refit. The team was led by Dr. Sue Molloy, who has been CEO of Glas Ocean Electric for the past four years and is well known internationally for her work in the marine renewable energy sector.

Next door to Halifax, a solar ferry conversion underway in Anne of Green Gables country

She also does research work on tidal power in her role as an Adjunct Professor at Halifax’s Dalhousie University, also home to the research team of  Tesla’s lithium battery guru Jeff Dahn.

Speaking about the safety certification for a lithium-ion commercial passenger boat, Dr. Molloy told Bill Spurr of the Halifax Chronicle Herald “It was quite an involved process because Transport Canada has strict regulations around safety when passengers are involved. We could’ve just gone with a fishing vessel and had fewer rules to deal with, but because this is a passenger vessel there is a lot more stringency.”

Classic Atlantic Coast lobster fishing design

The boat is a Cape Islander, a well known style of fishing boat in Eastern Canada, with a distinctive step up to the bow. Glas Ocean worked with a variety of partners, including E.Y.E. Marine Consultants, Canadian Maritime Engineering, Sterling PBES Energy Solution and Danfoss Editron to design and install a parallel hybrid electric system that incorporates the existing diesel motor.

electric inboard motorThere was a big desire for an all electric system, but hybrid was chosen partly for safety back-up reasons and also because the Alutasi has to navigate two very different types of waters each trip – those of the Halifax Harbour and the deep fishing waters of the Atlantic Ocean itself. The diesel will be used for fast transit in the harbour and the electric motor for the majority of each trip.

The day trip fishing tour was chosen as the ideal application for the Alutasi the boats always come back for shore charging.

One of Glas Ocean’s main goals is to show people the potential of electric boats. The owner of the boat, Ambassatour Gray Lines, has a significant fleet and Molloy is confident this will show them that for other sightseeing boats they can “do a tour in the morning, charge up  and do another tour in the afternoon.”

Talks are underway with one of the funders, Nova Scotia Power, to put Level 2 and Level 3 chargers on the city’s docks for all electric boats.

Reduced greenhouse gases and noise

One of the companies that provided reduced rates and in-kind contributions for the project is underwater noise research company JASCO Applied Sciences.

Alutasi electric boat in HalifaxTests have been done on both greenhouse gas and noise emissions using different loads and three different propellers – one new, one in-use and one damaged. It’s estimated that the new system will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and underwater radiated noise by 40-60% for a typical trip.

Next up on the block for the Glas Ocean team is a fishing boat to be converted completely to electric. They are also talking with other potential clients in Costa Rica and the Caribbean as to electrify boats like the Alutasi that operate near shore.

The payback time is estimated at five to eight years, says Molloy, “but for some operations, if they’re used frequently and year-round, the payback could be in two years.”

McGill team working on iron and silicon for cheaper li-ion batteries

diagaram of new iron - sodium batery

One of the problems with li-ion batteries (lithium-iron) is the cobalt used in the cathode. About 60% of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the mining of the metal has been linked to human rights abuses, corruption, environmental destruction and child labour.

Many companies would like to reduce or eliminate cobalt in lithium batteries, but it is difficult to match its efficiency, and Tesla is one of the few that has been successful in replacing some of it with other chemicals.

Now a research team from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, has come up with a coating that might make it possible for iron and silicon – two of the world’s most abundant elements – to step in for cobalt.

Li-ion batteries with iron and silicon cathode

The McGill team’s work centred around a cathode made of lithium iron silicate. Theoretically it has a high capacity to hold energy over several charge-discharge cycles, but in practice, this hasn’t been achieved.

McGill University battery research teamWhat the group did is experiment with the carbon coating that is applied to cathodes to improve capacity. This is a science unto itself. Cobalt is mixed with manganese, nickel or aluminum in the cathode, and some companies coat the crystals of the whole alloys.

Nano One, a BC based company,   improve performance by coating the nanocrystals of the individual elements.

There are also different elements used as the coating of the crystal, carbon being one of the most common. But for the lithium iron silicate alloy the McGill group has been working on, they tried an electronically conductive polymer called PEDOT.

PEDOT (poly-ethylenedioxythiophene-polystyrene-sulfonate, if you’re really interested) was invented in the 1980s and first used as an anti-static for photographic film. Figuring out a way to apply it to the surface of the nanocrystals took almost two years, but the leader of the team, Majid Rasool, said “We were not expecting that big of a jump in performance over carbon coating.”

To validate the work, the cathodes were sent halfway across Canada to Canadian Light Source in Saskatchewan, where they were tested using the organization’s Soft X-ray Spectromicroscopy and Macromolecular Crystallography Facility.

Coating process opens new production strategies

“The testing information let us dig deeper and begin to explain why the PEDOT coating treatment and the sub-surface iron-rich layer improved performance so much.” Said Rasool. “There’s still work to be done to understand why and build on this, but this coating process opens up new engineering strategies for batteries.”

We’ll put in our usual disclaimer about battery research. It is a long way from laboratory results to you hooking the battery up to your electric boat motor. Rasool and his cohorts seem to have some advantages, though.

They are working with the huge utility, Hydro-Quebec, that is also working with Johnathan Goodenough on a new glass battery. Goodenough is one of the three men who received the Nobel Prize for inventing the lithium-ion battery.

Could drive down the cost of li-ion batteries

Aside from the ethical issues of cobalt, being able to use iron and silicon in the cathode could radically reduce the price of li-ion batteries. Some estimate that the cost of the cathode can make up 40% of a battery cell’s price.

So who knows? If the PEDOT coating (or something else that comes out of this research) is technically and commercially practical, you may be able to look forward to a boat battery made of iron and sand (silica) and start approaching the idea of being ‘dirt cheap’.

BC company’s process for lighter, less expensive lit-ion batteries

A process for lithium-ion batteries that improves conductivity and durability and reduces manufacturing costs could lead to lighter, less expensive batteries, including solid state versions especially relevant for airplanes…and boats.

The ‘One Pot’ process has been developed by  Nano One Materials of Vancouver, Canada, who have been working on it since 2011 with the first proof of concept announced in 2013. Since then they have built a pilot plant, been granted multiple international patents and partnered with companies like Volkswagen and Pulead Technology, one of China’s leading lithium-ion battery cathode producers.

Cathode of lithium-ion batteries is the key

graphic of battery types‘Cathode producer’ is the key here. There are three main parts to a battery – the electrolyte, anode and cathode. The anode (the negative pole of the battery) and electrolyte (the part the ions flow through from one pole to the other) haven’t changed much in a Li-ion battery since 1991. The anode is carbon based and the electrolyte is a lithium salt dissolved in a liquid or gel. On the other hand the cathode (positive pole) has seen a lot of changes and comes in many variations.

The cathode contains lithium mixed with some other metal or combination of metals and the image above –  from an excellent infographic on the Nano One website – illustrates some of them. Two of the most common for lithium ion batteries are Nickel/Manganese/Cobalt (NMC) and  Nickel/Cobalt/Aluminum (NCA) while a LiFePo4 battery has a Lithium Iron Phosphate version.

There is no ‘perfect’ combination of chemicals, each has some advantages but also disadvantages. Cobalt, for instance, is not only expensive, but includes ethical issues because of the treatment of miners in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some cathodes charge quickly but heat up faster than others. Other combinations develop dendrites, stalactites of microscopic needles that can cause all kinds of problems over time.

As we wrote last week, Samsung is one company working on the dendrite issue, but their research is limited to one kind of chemistry in the cathode. The Nano One difference is that it can improve the performance – and lower the manufacturing costs – for all kinds of cathode chemical combinations.

Nano One process coats individual crystals

One of the current methods for addressing some cathode deficiencies is coating the cathode materials. Among other things coating can help improve the flow of ions in and out of the cathode and means metals like metals like nickel can replace some of the cobalt.

diagram of coated clumpsWhat the Nano One process does is take that a step further, by coating individual nano-crystals in the cathode material, not clumps of the material. It is called the ‘One Pot Process’ because it also does it in a different way. To be simplistic, all of the cathode metals can be mixed together with the coating material and everything ‘cooked’ all at once in a kiln. The standard process requires two kiln firings over a course of days while the one pot process only takes a few hours.

The Nano One website explains that the coated clusters made with the standard process (Left, above) are prone to cracking and degradation from battery assembly and repeated charging, especially at high voltage. The One Pot Process (Right) coats each individual particle – nano-crystal – for better durability and longer battery life.

Solid state batteries for airplanes, boats

Solid State Batteries (SSBs) is where the ‘lighter’ part of the battery equation comes in. SSBs are the big goal in electric cars, because they can hold more energy in the same space as a liquid or gel sort. Solid state batteries using LMN (Lithium/Manganese/Nickel) cathodes hold big promise for electric airplanes, partly because they would also use ultrathin and light lithium metal anodes. But there are challenges.

clumps operating within batteryNano One’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Stephen Campbell, says the largest single challenge “is to design a stable and commercially viable interface between the solid electrolyte, of polymer, ceramic or glass composition, and the solid cathode and anode materials on either side of this electrolyte”. Nano One and (unnamed) automotive companies recently announced that tests they performed on solid state batteries of differing compositions had ‘positive results’.

In some ways, aviation batteries are more akin to what marine propulsion needs because  airplanes and boats both need to ‘float’. One of the encouraging aspects of these SSB tests is that the One Pot Process looks like it can reduces costs. The single kiln firing is one advantage and the other is that the nano-particle coating makes nickel a viable and cheaper alternative to cobalt.

The road to market viability

Whenever we write about batteries it is important to say that it is a long journey from the drawing board and test results to something available to consumers. Nano One has a strategy, though, that might speed up that process.

The company’s business model does not include doing the processing of the materials themselves. Instead they will license the technology to companies like VW, Pulead and potentially others, who presumably already have the factories, personnel and distribution channels to get it to market fairly easily.

This electric boat goes 56 miles an hour

Jonny Lee Tempest is an inventor, investor, retired Cirque Du Soleil Audio Engineer, certified Entertainment Electrician (ETCP-CEE) and member of MENSA.

He has owned 6 Tesla cars, has an unquenchable and insatiable thirst for doing things in new ways, and is passionate about figuring out how the future can be free of fossil fuel emissions.

Most to the point for the Electric Boat Association, he designed and built the world’s fastest pure solar electric boat. It goes 54 miles an hour and pulls a waterskier instantaneously with unmatched torque and silence. 

Jonny Lee is also the founder of Net Positive, or N+, which has built a simple piece of hardware coupled with learning piece of software that helps people worry less about their energy usage, while makring their energy usage mre efficient.

You can find out more about Net Positive and how its solutions can be applied to your need on their »» website.

But before you go, check out these videos. The first shows Jonny’s electric boat rocketing along the water (almost silently) at 56 miles per hours, 48 kilometres per hour: 90 KNOTS!.

The second shows how he went about building/adapting boat motor technology to achieve this amazing accomplishment.


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.

BMW and Torqeedo Cooperate on Emission-Free Drive System for Vendée Globe Campaign

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.

Indonesian eco-dive resort goes all e-boat

MahaRaja EcoDive in Indonesia

From Eco-Business

A new eco dive resort in Raja Ampat has become the first to launch e-boats, an important step in the race to protect the world’s most biodiverse coral reefs.

Competition is healthy among the eco resorts of Indonesia’s most famous dive destination, Raja Ampat. And MahaRaja Eco Dive Lodge, which only opened 8 months ago, has just scored an important claim to fame.

The small luxury resort is the first in Raja Ampat—and possibly the first in Indonesia—to electrify its dive boats.

MahaRaja has fitted two traditional Papuan long boats with electric engines, beating rival sustainability-minded dive resorts such as Kri Eco Resort, which also has plans to build e-boats, to launch vessels that don’t pollute.

“We are the first [resort] to launch e-boats, and we sincerely hope the others will follow,” MahaRaja’s founder Mahasti Motazedi, a French former aeronautics engineer and Microsoft sales executive, tells Eco-Business.

With tourism growing rapidly Raja Ampat—although remote and expensive, visitor numbers have grown by 1,300 per cent in under a decade—the region’s reefs, the world’s most biodiverse, will hope she’s right.

»» Read the whole article at EcoBusiness

Volvo Penta to introduce electrics in 2021

From ReElectrify.com:

Volvo Penta, the  industrial and marine engine division of Volvo, has issued a clear statement of intent with the news that by 2021 it will provide electrified power solutions for both its land and sea-based business segments.

The announcement follows in the lead of the automobile division which will be ending its internal-combustion-engine only models and offer only electric and hybrid engines beginning in 2019.

Underpinned by the success of hybrid and all-electric technology introduced by the Volvo Group, Volvo Penta’s electrified solutions will demonstrate the company’s long-term commitment to offering customers the latest and most appropriate power source for their user applications.

“Volvo Penta is embracing the electric transformation and will be at the forefront in delivering compelling business cases to customers using this new technology,” said Björn Ingemanson, president of Volvo Penta.

“We are already several years into its electrification journey,” added Johan Inden, chief technology officer. “We have spent this time building competencies, experience and establishing the technologies required to deliver a sustainable power solutions road map.

Volvo Penta has restructured its organization to accelerate the switch towards electrified power and has committed to an ambitious ramping up of its electrification investment program. An electromobility development-and-test laboratory has also been established at its Swedish headquarters.

Volvo Penta is a Tier 1 partner to many leading equipment manufacturers in the marine and industrial segments, so it is in a unique position to further develop the proven electric platforms from the Volvo Group.

While the power outputs and applications of the initial electric systems are being kept confidential for the time being, the company has announced that both hybrid and all-electric solutions will be offered at the outset. Volvo Penta is already field testing early prototypes and system validation is under way.


Watch this electric drill powered boat!

a rowboat powered by an electric drill

Laura Kampf is a self-described “self-employed Artist/Designer/Maker and Content Creator.

She makes neat stuff, and on her YouTube channel you can watch her bring her ideas to life from her workshop. Things like a DIY foldaway camping table, a beer bike, her own tiny house… and our favourite, this Super Fast Drill Powered Boat Motor.

It’s a delightful, whimsical video that ends with the successful completion of a very cool electric boat.