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Electric Boat - Ski Nautique


Skoot1123
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Anyone hear if there is going to be a marketable electric ski boat? Nautique's was promoting it a while ago but it seems to have faded. With fuel price's the way they are, I bet there might be some interest in it, although the electric motor and batteries may not make it very viable. Thoughts?
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I think if there was truly a strong demand, it would already be on the market. With the additional cost of the boat itself, replacement batteries and the added cost to ones electric bill, I wonder how long you would have to own one before you would actually come out ahead?
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solar pannels aren't exactly the cheapest investment either though and imagine having to charge a boat every 6 sets at a tournament. Even class C tournaments usually have 30+ skiers and state, regionals, and nationals have more than I care to count, charging a battery takes a little longer than filling up the tank in my experience and would have to be done more often.
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From what I saw on the electric Nautique, they were not promoting the boat, they had simply built one along with a company that engineers electric drive trains for the marine environment.

 

 

Last updates 2011 - http://www.ltsmarine.com/EN/category/news/

 

Thing is waterski is a specific market, but we have some advantages, for instance a private ski lake you can have the infrastructure for an electric boat built onto the lake. Be that a charging port dock/lift. Or extra battery pack that drops into the boat from the boat house.

 

 

Open water you'd need a lot more than 3-4 sets of run time to even get to where I ski and back from the dock.

 

But I think we'll see more LPG and diesel options before that here in the states.

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@bulldog - I don't think it is the purchase price - so much as that in this industry serious waterskiers upgrade their boats very frequently, some every season, others every 2 seasons.

 

That's often not enough time to recoup the upgrade cost.

 

When MC had the diesel option people were working numbers, I think the VW Turbodiesel plant was an additional 20-25 grand over the base Prostar 190. Which is great, if you use it enough to recoup the 20-25 grand in fuel over the time you use it with enough margin to the benefit from it.

 

The gas-diesel comparison however you usually have fuel that is similar in price in the US, diesel is a bit more than gas around these parts now, so you have to get a realistic consumption/hour number. And then factor it out. I think for my family's use the boat would have recouped the upgrade cost of the engine over about 7 years. Way too long to be useful.

 

If you were a ski club and you could charge fast enough, or swap the battery cell and not have unrealistic down time (hot swap when getting new skier) then you could recoup that cost MUCH quicker. Depending on electric rates.

 

Now we have boats that make wakes, those wakes could perhaps raise floating wake buffers which would create energy. Like a tidal electric generator... could work. - factoring it out over long enough.

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Oil isn't going to last forever... In around 100 years haven't we used about 50% of the worlds reserves??? It won't last another 50, given the rate we're using it these days.

Sure electric isn't viable now, give it another 5 - 10 years... The price of oil may give us no other option.

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@rodltg2 wouldn't that just be a cable course? Just get rid of the bus! Pull a Dumb sled with a hull that is identical to a current model. Weight it appropriately, etc. you could put a judge or judges in the 'boat' with whatever electronics you'd need or want. That thing could then go up ad down the lake all day long powered from the shore.

 

Back to the original post, the electric option is pretty cool but likely not practical as discussed.

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While I think an electric boat is "interesting" I would probably never buy one. I would miss the rumble of the engine starting up and taking off with a skier in tow! There is something uniquely relaxing about that sound of a boat on/in the water. We would all miss out without that "noise" element to it!

As far as oil and energy, I have thoughts about that which would need a different thread.

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It will be a long time before we run out of oil. More and more is being discovered all the time. And don't think for a second that Saudi Arabia is being truthful about how much they have left. Plus U.S. oil production is on track to exceed the Saudis in another 10 years or so. Doesn't mean we shouldn't conserve it where we can, but running out is not an immediate threat. They said we were running out in the '70s. Forty years later and more is out there now than ever. Only problem is it will become too expensive to extract long before we actually run out.

 

Propane and bio fuels would be the next logical step for boats.

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For the way that I ski it could work. I generally ski one set per day usually just before dark and then put it away. If there is another skier (rare) 4 passes are the max my boat has seen in years. Recharge overnight and repeat. The cost right now is to high for my beer taste. Therefore I will keep my 02 196 as is!
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If I could get 60 passes on a charge I would think about it.

The Tesla S model gets 300 miles on a charge and costs about 70k which is comparable to any bmw or mercedes, heck even hyundai has, a car close to that price. And the fit and finish of the tesla is equal to the bmw and the mercedes.

 

So, yes someone could make a boat that would be priced reasonably and get the FULL day mileage out of it. Who is going to step up to the plate?

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I for one love it. Not for the ski club or the tournament, but for private use, it would be excellent. No smoke no noise, you could probably talk to your skier! No gas cans. How do you winterise and electric motor? For guys like me who only use the boat on weekends, you could charge it on very small solar panels during the week, The real deal killer for me is though, is the short run time. On those rare occasions that you have a group out for a day on the water, you're screwed. Plug in hybrid anyone?

 

On the down side, what most people dont't realize is that approx 70% of the US electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels, and transmission of electricity is only about 10% efficient, So until those numbers change, you aren't doing anything for the environment by going electric anything.

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if electric cars were charged on 100% coal generated electricity it would still be 'greener' than a toyota prius.

I for one would rather power my boat and car with home generated solar electricity than relying on multinational corporations, sending money to the mid east and being taxed in the process.

 

there will come a time in the not too distant future where its possible to drive twice the range of your gas car with a tank of gas and charging time taking less than it would be to pump your tank full of gas. the technology exists, just a matter of time. how much were early computers?

http://img.ezinemark.com/imagemanager2/files/30002494/2010/10/2010-10-14-16-42-10-1-this-computer-has-10mb-of-hard-drive-at-the-price.jpeg

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@auskier - love that picture. Hilarious now that we know you can get an 8GB HD SD chip for your camera for $15. Yes, that's right $15!!!!! An analogy I like to use is, NASA: the stuff they design/create is not available to the public for 10 or more years. So yes, there is that technology out there, it just isn't COMMERCIALLY viable. One day we might see a commercially viable electric ski boat, but I'm sticking with gas for now!!!
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I love that hard drive brochure! I don't think it's really an apples comparison however, as electric vehicle were being developed back in those times as well. Obviously mass demand for computer components drove the costs down. 40 years later, and our cell phones have a 1,000 fold the capability of a Cray 1, and they're dirt cheap (many "free" with a data plan). Electric vehicle technology has come a long way too, don't get me wrong, but if was really the way of the future, it should/would be way further along than it is - and it's still really expensive. I would think CNG or hydrogen fuel cells may be more viable? I think I may have a dinosaur mentality, as I still believe the good old gasoline engine is the way of the future. Maybe not a gas guzzling V8, but a gas engine just the same. With new oil reserves being discovered, and modern technology to extract oil previously unattainable, I don't believe we are in any danger of running out. High prices won't come from lack of resources, but lack of government approval to go get it. I certainly don't want to get political, but that's the reality we live in.
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@swc5150 - as someone that is awaiting approval from a government entity, I can tell you it is a BEAR.

 

The only issue I see with either CNG or hydrogen is the storage. The power density of CNG and hydrogen isn't as great as either diesel or gasoline. So you will have to burn more to get the same power out of it. It's all a give and take. I believe some of the boats in Europe use propane for fuel - someone can comment on that.

 

Long and short is, alternatives are nice to have, but I know where I'm putting my money!

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We use CC200s running on LPG. Large storage tank on site. Bulk buy, under half fuel costs I think. LPG storage at lakes in some European countries is restricted by red tape and the need for permits that are difficult to obtain, eg. Poland. Pretty sure it's common in France, I seem to remember they run their Malibus on gas at Lacanau ( that's Liquid Protrolium Gas )
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My cell phone is more powerful than a supercomputer was when my (still relevant) Algorithms textbook was published in 1990. That's "only" 22 years ago.

 

To me the keys to an electric boat are: 1) Quiet, especially at a distance. This should open up a lot of places and times where people might otherwise complain about noise. 2) Range has gotta be improved. Minimum 3 hours of slalom-style operation. 3) Solar charging system at dock. Most boats sit at the dock nearly all the time, so in principal there is plenty of free power (with zero fossil fuels burned).

 

There's some chance I am biased since my grandfather invented the solar battery (that's what he called it; the slick "photovoltaic cell" label was probably somebody in marketing). As far as powering the world, solar is a joke. But for the right applications, it's amazing. Satellites are the prime example, and charging a boat actually has a lot in common with that application: Sitting in the sun all the time and awkward to run a cable to!

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Scott, don't move to Florida...Especially in the summer with the air going and a Wife and Daughter that do laundry non-stop.....Then there's the special lighting for the Parrot too !!

 

Ohhh, and did I mention the Parrot has to have his own TV going with his favorite cartoons also.

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I bet most people would prefer to ski behind an electric boat after trying. Imagine 100% torque at startup and a quiet smaller engine. As soon as battery capacity and chargeability improve, I'm sure this will become the standard very quickly. Who knows how long this will take.
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Until gas is very expensive, it won't happen. Foreign oil likes to jack prices to where investment in alternatives makes sense, then drop prices and watch the venture firms fail. As long as we drive SUV's rather than smart cars because we can, you won't see fully electric cars or boats that make economic sense for the individual buyer.
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Waterskiitaly.com uses LPG engines.

I tried this in September.

The LPG gas works just fine.

Some changes to the engine is required.

Acceleration is slightly slower.

 

It will unfortunately take quite some time until batteries are even close to petrol.

The energy in 1 lbs of petrol is comparable to 30-100 lbs of battery....

But as many people mention batteries could become law, suitable for just a few sets per day etc.

 

I would assume that petrol will cost 10 USD / Gallon in a few years.

We pay close to this in Europe already now.

 

Diesel is more efficient. One can get up to twice mileage from a Diesel compare to petrol.

 

I am waiting for a course in a large indoor swimming pool with a more robust electrical slalom ski lift running in the ceiling. ;o)

 

 

 

 

 

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Actually @6balls, it's not going to be 'foreign oil' controlling the price so much. There's been a lot of advances in drilling/frack'ing... they say the US will be independent in 10 years, and a net exporter of oil in less than 20.

But what North America really has a lot of is Natural Gas. Sells for pennies now. We should be thinking about running engines on that...

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Hydrogen fuel cells are closer than you may think. My friend is spearheading a project for her company buying property for service stations world wide as I write this. And has been for the last two years. And we're not talking start-ups here. Fortune 50 corporations. Gas will get to unaffordable levels for the applications we have grown so acustomed to using in our everyday lives. Every credible analyst in the industry is in agreement on this.
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Electric does make perfect sense in a wakeboard boat ~ given weight is not an issue. Hopefully if these take off, prices will come down and technology will continue to improve, which will eventually make it viable for a slalom boat.

I do love that it is only a 6 hour charge for a 10 hour run time!

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