Time For A "real" Electric Hybrid Pontoon!!

Discussion in 'Hybrid' started by H2Othinker, May 14, 2007.

  1. H2Othinker
    Joined: May 2007
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    Location: Indiana

    H2Othinker New Member

    Moving to southern MO soon. Home to be is situated on Table Rock Lake. I am surprised by the lack of electric marine motor systems for recreational pontoons. There are a handful of manufacturers (such as ElectraCraft) which employ battery powered dc electric motors. From a practical standpoint, all are limited by insufficient torque at higher rpms inherent to such designs (48 volt x 2 motors = 8 batteries = lots of weight and space). Max equivalent hp of 14 (that's with 2 motors) is capable of pushing a 20+ foot pontoon at: Cruising Speed = 5 mph, Full Speed = 8.5 mph Power: Cruising Time = 8 hours, Charge Time = 8 hours. I suppose that's fine until a t-storm comes blowing across the lake... in that case, about 35 mph would come in handy. Or, for inland reservoirs, a destination 15-30 mi. from dock is not uncommon.

    So, why not have an LP (preferred to gasoline or diesel) generator (need a quiet one; dB rating ~ 60) with sufficient kW to drive an electric motor with power rating to yield hp in the 30 to 60 range??? A bank of fewer batteries (24 V) could be used for no-wake, low-end speeds (2 to 3 mph). Recharging system for batteries could consist of PV cells conveniently situated on top of dock roof!

    Appreciate any and all ideas!!!
  2. charmc
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: FL, USA

    charmc Senior Member

    Nothing wrong with the concept at all. In fact, there are some firms already developing hybrid vessels.



    You're right in your basic premise: at present, battery power will only serve for low hp displacement speeds, and the option to run from bad weather or shorten travel time occasionally is nice to have. I'm not sure the genset to electric motor concept is most efficient, considering all aspects, including cost. You might find it simpler and less costly to mount an efficient outboard or I/O for high speeds, with the PV-charged batteries running small motors for low speeds.

    I'm not disparaging your idea, just saying it might pay be open to all possible power options on the basis of cost and efficiency, keeping in mind that an efficient combustion motor used infrequently uses very little fuel, whatever that fuel might be. Just working toward the goal of maximum energy efficiency is a worthy goal. Good luck!
  3. H2Othinker
    Joined: May 2007
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    Location: Indiana

    H2Othinker New Member

    Thank you for the info on this amazing hybrid craft. The concept is sound. Now if the technology can be applied to the recreational pontoon market (at a relative cost factor of < 0.1), then I won't have to trade my new lake home for the boat!


  4. nero
    Joined: Aug 2003
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    Location: Marseille, France / Illinois, US

    nero Senior Member

    Perhaps the problem could be redefined? If cruising at 5 mph is okay (less shore errosion) then the real need for speed (other than ego) is due to the poor hull characteristics of pontoon boats.

    If the platform was a displacement catamaran, then it could handle any small lake wave. With short shelter space in the hulls, protection from the storm, and a head could be had. The boat would go farther on a charge because the hulls could be more hydrodynamic.

    And it would look like a boat, not some barrels with a camper pad on it. Pontoon boats are highly overpriced.

    my 1ยข.
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