Coming off a very successful crowdfunding campaign, an expanded DeepSpeed development team is working on a high power 500 kiloWatt electric hydrojet motor designed for work boats and vessels that sail hundreds of hours a year.
The company’s December funding campaign raised €2.9 million (3.5M US$) in 17 days – easily blowing past the target of 2 million Euros. Deepspeed is now under the umbrella of a broader company (Sealence), and with the hiring of 5 new design engineers and a strategist in international finance has announced a new focus on higher power motors for luxury yachts and large commercial boats.
500 kilowatt electric hydrojet part of high power strategy
The new 500kW motor – the DS780 – has 1500 Nm (Newton meters) of torque and the engineering team claims a peak power thrust equivalent to a 780 horsepower engine. A smaller but still high power DS420 is also in development with a power rating of 220kW, torque of 560 Nm and a 420 hp equivalency. Both models are aiming for 2021 release.
As part of the strategic shift to higher power models, development has paused for the moment on the 120e model, so the DS740 and DS420 motors join the existing DS280RE to fill out a line of three outboard waterjet models.
Range of applications
This gives a wide range of boats that can be outfitted with the company’s motors. The 420 has been designed for fast recreational hulls, while the 740 has been optimized to reach its maximum efficiency in the speed range from 16 to 26 knots on semi-planing hulls.
At the Genoa boat show last October the motors were showcased in the booths of two different manufacturers: Scanner Marine, which makes RIB and custom tenders, and Amer luxury yachts. Scanner’s exhibit featured the Deepspeed on a stern drive set up, while the Amer stall had two hydrojets bolted to a prototype hull to demonstrate where twin motors are placed on a larger boat.
Regarding the yacht set-up, Sealence told Motor Boat & Yachting in a January article that the “longer-term goal is to offer a complete hybrid electric drivetrain package that includes a modular system of expandable lithium ion batteries, solar panels, a diesel range-extender and a range of different DeepSpeed jets all controlled by a single Smartbox. This will enable it to power a wide range of different craft from 9m to 24m.”
RIMS, propellers, hydrojets and waterjets
The Deepspeed outboard electric hydrojet is similar in general concept to a regular rim motor, like the RAD system in the Pulse 58 from RS Electric boats, or the Vetus thrusters in the Old Nick canalboat we wrote about. Rather than having a propeller with blades attached to a central hub, the blades in rim motors are attached to the rim of the housing, with the water flowing – or being sucked – through the middle.
One of the advantages of a rim over traditional hub propellers is that they avoid something called ‘tip loss’ associated with propellers spinning at higher speeds.
This has to do with the fact that the prop blades move faster at their tips than than they do closer to the hub (the tips have to cover more distance in the same amount of time) and propeller blades are ‘twisted’ along the length of the blade to allow for this. But however the blades are angled there is an inevitable decline in efficiency – tip loss – at higher revolutions per minute.
Deepspeed’s research shows that their motors actually become more efficient at higher speeds, and can be optimized, as noted above, for the speed ranges and general demands of different boat use. The Deepspeed units also have a long tunnel surrounding the rim setup that gives the motor the appearance of a turbine for a jet plane.
At its most basic, there are also similarities to a standard waterjet propulsion system – they both move the boat forward by adding momentum to the water and accelerating its flow. But most waterjets are inside the hull of the boat and have to take water up by impellers, then shoot it out at higher speeds through the transom. The Deepspeed outboard hydrojet just accelerates the flow of the water it is travelling through.
It has been quite the journey for Deepspeed founder William Gobbo since he first imagined his electric hydrojet in 2007. The company now has a team of 10 designers, 3 professors and a Formula1 H20 powerboat racing pilot, a very successful funding campaign under its belt and a line up of three exciting motors with a plan to launch them in 2021. There is a rumour they are working on an even more powerful motor. Stay tuned.