These 2 new swap-in electric motors for MerCruisers are exhibiting at the Duesseldorf Boat Show this week and gaining attention as an easy way for fossil fuel boat owners with sterndrives AKA inboard/outboards to ‘go electric’. The motors and their mounts are being shown by German company AQAForce and EPTechnologies of Denmark.
To be clear, the motors are not associated with MerCruiser, but have been outfitted with brackets and mounts to make it easy to connect to the popular sterndrives.
This is a recent, and exciting development in the electric boat world, with both companies introducing their concepts since August.
First, let’s look at the specifications of the motors. They are quite similar, perhaps because they are both designed to fit into existing spaces on boats and be compatible with the existing mechanics of the MerCruiser Alpha.
Electric motors for MerCruisers developed in two countries
The AQAForce motor is a 150kW BLDC (Brushless DC) unit operating off 336 Volts and 397 continuous amps. It is cooled by an ultraquiet seawater system developed by AQAForce Founder Klaus Lehmann. The power source is an 84kWh lithium-ion weighing 440 kg (900 lbs) also developed by Mr. Lehmann.
EPTechnologies was founded 6 years ago by Kasper Falkenberg, who has been working electric propulsion for over 18 years. Theirs is a 145 kW motor with a 400V system and 90 kWh battery. Both motors operate at 5200 RPMs.
Here is the AQAForce F150 in action, having been installed in a wooden Palena hull from Rivers and Tide Boatbuilding.
And here is the EPTechnologies motor, on a similar river hundreds of miles away, powering a Rand sportboat.
Easy couplings let electric motors fit MerCruiser
In each of the videos you can catch a quick glimpse of how the motor is coupled with the MerCruiser sterndrive, and they both appear quite simple and easy. One of the most striking things, for anyone who has ever taken a look under the engine hatch of a gas boat, is how clean and pristine everything is!
These innovations by EPTechnologies AQAForce are a great opportunity for people with a sterndrive who are thinking about electric boats, but haven’t been able to find an easy way to do it.
Purchasing an electric outboard to run off the transom of a boat is obviously easy, and even replacing a diesel saildrive with electric has been made fairly simple by manufacturers that have motors to fit Yanmar and other existing hardware.
These EPT and AQAForce motors opens up possibilities for the thousands of sterndrive I/O owners, especially in North America. Until now it has been up to individuals to work out their own systems, like Scott Masterson did with his 17 Bayliner.
Both Klaus Lehmann and the crew at EPTechnologies see many opportunities opening up. Marco Ottiker of EPT told us they are already looking at similar mounting kits for other sterndrives.
The AQAForce motor can also be hitched up with a jet drive, similar to the way the famous Shotover Jet adventure boats in New Zealand are being converted from V8 powered jet motors to electric jet.
These two motors see to be an idea whose time has come, and you can see for yourself at the Duesseldorf show.