Electric Propulsion

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  • April 14, 2014 3:43 PM
    Message # 1537722
    Deleted user
    I was at the boat show yesterday, and took a look at the new electric drive systems available, and was wondering if anyone has installed one on one of our boats?  While I have been less then enthusiastic about them in the past, the seem to be improving dramatically!  I would love to hear any comments.  Thanks...
  • April 14, 2014 9:10 PM
    Reply # 1537885 on 1537722
    Deleted user
    I am curious as to what the big improvements are?

    If you read through the old PDF's I think there was a couple who did put an all elec drive in a w32 it had the pwm control + sun gear.   They had a good write up on it (can't remember where the link was)  but they did not have the success they were looking for.

    From a question point, how would you get the power into the batteries?  while sailing my solar almost keeps up with the normal needs (Lights, ref, radios) but not quite, I still run the engine every 3 or 4 days for power.

    The prop will not gen (at all or well) behind the deadwood below 8kts, which is most of the time for a w32.

    So the big question for me would be, how to recharge the battery (not enough room for solar, wind would be pretty big)  a gen set could work? 

    so a (20hp diesel) elec clutch (gen/motor) elec clutch (prop shaft) could work with out the  transmission. Is the control for this type of setup, what you were talking about as big improvements??? because if the improvement is only on the all electric version, it won't work well!

    A hybrid design could be interesting in that one could gain in comfort (more elec. power, hot water, battery storage and somewhat on economy) but at 4.5kts as opposed to 6.3kts with a 40hp. Note: with full batteries you could go 2hr's at 6.3 but then back to just 4.5.

     AND if you have one of those big yellow power snakes at your dock every night you could get by without running the old iron sail+/-

    Last modified: April 14, 2014 9:44 PM | Deleted user
  • April 15, 2014 7:30 AM
    Reply # 1538052 on 1537722
    Deleted user
    I remember that article.  I was just begining to consider repowering TAMZIN and thought electric propulsion should be something to consider.  After a bit of research I contacted one of the companies (lost the name when I changed computers) for a estimate.  They came back with a figure on the order of $35,000.  The final tally for a complete engin room redo (tanks, engin, fuel system ect) via Bud and Beta was $15,003.  Possibly the price has come down a bit but between the cost and performance issues I don't think we're quite there yet with electric propulsion.
  • April 15, 2014 2:25 PM
    Reply # 1538437 on 1537722
    Deleted user
    Most of the, "Newness" is in the kit.  They have become very well organized, and the product is put together nicely.  Cost for our boats (WS32) was $7800 for the unit and $3000 for installation.  I have many of the same questions asked here in the thread, and was really hoping to find someone that is using the system.  I think I genset is a must, but fuel for that would be minimal.  Still just a curiosity, but I would love to talk w/someone that has one.  
  • April 15, 2014 4:03 PM
    Reply # 1538483 on 1537722
    Deleted user

    I have been using a hybrid for about 4 years (car) and here are some points to think about.
    A.) when in Hawaii I got about 21 miles/gal  ?  yes if you do not run your hybrid more than  6+ miles a week you will only charge the batteries. = NO gain only losses.
    B.) I now get an average of 31.2 +/- miles /gal in Oregon. = longer trips more use.
    C.) is it worth it ? in about another 5 years I will tell you.

    Now for the why; batteries leak off while sitting!, maybe only 0.00125 to 0.005 / day.  but the chemistry wants to balance (go to 0). So unlike diesel in a sealed tank which (tech. note: loss is in the 0.0000001/day range = in 28000 years it will be all gone) you are losing power all the time with the battery, which means you have to make up for the losses. The issues in Hawaii for me was that the car set for a week at a time = it took 8+ miles of driving = 15 min to complete the loss of 2% of the bat's power = extra gas used to recharge the battery.  

    Think about this, your system sucks up power (controller + losses = 0.2 amps) this is not to bad but in 24 hours you need to make up 5 Amp hours of loss, and in one week that is 34 amp hours without as much as one prop spin. So for that gen set;  you need to run it 30 min every week to just make up for the battery and control losses.   (need a bigger fuel tank not smaller) 

    Next usage = the new controllers (PWM's are pretty good but you only get 88% of what was in the battery) the gen set has losses putting it into the batteries maybe 85% eff. So in the end you are getting 88% of 85% = 75% of what the gen set put out + you need to cover the battery and static controller loses noted above; + we all have lights etc.

    That is why a Hybrid would be a better choice:  direct driving the prop gains 3 to 5% from not using the transmission, but the other losses would all be there, less the fact you could power at 4.3 or 4.5 kts while using less fuel from a better matched motor.  A third point of power savings would be the diesel engine heat up (like in and out of an anchorage) this is big! somewhere around 0.15 gal on my 40 - 45hp diesel. So turning the thumper on and off 3 times a day uses almost a half gal of dino + what is needed to do the work.   For a hybrid you could do it less often, but for longer = only 1/10 near coast and 1/2 off shore startups.
    Also you could dump the alternator and starter.

    BIG NOTE: INCORRECT PROP SIZING IS MORE THAN 5% loss and could be as high as 30% loss.

    All in all, until you have a power source:  elec. drive is a no go.  Cats and fast boats can regen but you lose miles when dragging the prop, which means extra days at sea = more food, more water, more light power, and less safety.

  • April 15, 2014 4:26 PM
    Reply # 1538491 on 1537722
    Deleted user
    Thanks Norm, you are persuasive!  I appreciate the numbers!
  • April 17, 2014 3:13 PM
    Reply # 1539950 on 1537722
    I'm in the process of converting to an electric motor with a small diesel DC generator. The motor is the 20.0 from electric yacht. They are also putting together the generator, which will be delivered at the end of June. The motor and batteries(300ah at 48V) are installed, but I don't have any performance data yet other than it runs. :) I plan to do a writeup once the generator is installed this summer.
  • April 17, 2014 4:02 PM
    Reply # 1539988 on 1537722
    Deleted user
    Morten. Can you get them to connect the genset direct drive through the elec motor (ON or OFF). (elec clutch or belt that would disconnect when not driving the prop) Remember 5hp would push a w32 at 2.5Kts in calm water. This would req's a diesel that likes 1800 rpm or less which matches the genset req. you could save the weight of the DC generator (elec side) if you can get them to direct drive (or belt drive) you would need a clutch between the elec motor and prop. It would really boost your range. The setup would also depend on how fast they turn the prop. The belt req if turning slow. Please also look for the article by the couple that did install a elec motor in a w32. it is either in a windblown or in the PDF (old web site stuff.) Also before they have all of your money, please please get any kind of written guarantee that you can from them, regarding performance and operation (i.e. what they are selling you)!!!
    Last modified: April 17, 2014 5:46 PM | Deleted user
  • April 18, 2014 4:47 PM
    Reply # 1540587 on 1537722

    This is probably the old link you were looking for on Westsail.info...


  • April 19, 2014 8:37 AM
    Reply # 1540837 on 1537722
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Brett:  I'm looking for the contact info for a west coast Westsail 32 owner who just converted to electric...

    Also I've found information below - and to be clear - the WOA  and / or I can endorse one way or the other his firm/solution. Michael did attend the 2013 Nor Cal Rondy and presented after dinner.


    Michael Gunning

    Director of Sales Electric Yacht
    Owner Electric Yachts of Southern California
    M 626 298 2262
    Toll free 855 339 2248 ext 109

    (Skype) michael.gunning72


    Last modified: April 19, 2014 9:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
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