Eclass Outboards receives special Australian Innovation Award

In an Australian Marine Industry Awards first, the 2024 ‘Marine Innovation of the Year’ Award was so closely contested the judges were prompted to offer a special ‘Highly Commended’ certificate to acknowledge the exceptional innovation demonstrated by EClass Outboards.

EClass was launched in 2020 after 10 years of development led by Lynelle Johnson and automotive engineer Ron Kelly. Johnson is a successful entrepreneur who has focussed on environmental and socially responsible businesses. Kelly built speed boats and ocean kayaks and was an accredited manufacturer of Australian Surf Lifesaving boats.

Together they looked at the most accessible ways for boaters to turn to electric motors. This was prompted in part by the Australian government banning two-stroke gasoline/petrol outboards in 2018. What Johnson and Kelly came up with was a system to marry electric motors with existing outboard casings.

Read about the development and launch of EClass Outboards

The judges of the Awards, an independent panel convened by  AIMEX (Australia Marine Export Assocaiton), Superyacht Australia, and the Australian Commercial Marine Group, said  “EClass Outboards’ pioneering development of the world’s first plug-and-play electric RePower kits for conventional Internal Combustion Engine outboard casings has revolutionized the marine industry, by offering scalable and cost-effective solutions for transitioning to electric powertrains.”

EClass has a range of electric outboards – from 6 kiloWatts (8 horsepower) to 40 kW (60 hp) – that were first integrated with Yamaha casings. As Australia’s only manufacturer of higher kW outboards,  they have added integration with Mercury, Parsun and Honda casings to their line-up.

Motors integrate with Yamaha, Mercury, Parsun, Honda casings

When Johnson and Kelly first started analyzing the potential for the electric boat motor market they realized there are approximately 1,900 qualified marine mechanics in Australia, many of them based in regional areas like the South Coast.

While many are content to stick to gasoline/petrol motors, the familiarity of working with casings they already know inside out can provide those who want it with a way to make sure they are not bypassed in the transition to marine electric. 

“Not only do our electric RePOWER kits provide jobs for marine mechanics, but prevents the old casing going to landfill, maintains a relationship between the mechanic and customer and fits all the traditional petrol casing accessories like propellers.”

EClass Outboards training program in Senegal

This has sparked the interest of international development organizations and in 2023 Eclass Outboards participated in a pilot training program for mechanics in Senegal. This being successful retrofitters are now being set up in Africa, with interest from several other countries.

EClass have actively recruited some top marine mechanics as authorized retrofitters and have actively been collaborating with EV associations in the their local communities of Kiama and Bateman’s Bay, about an hour and a half drive from Sydney. 

They are also actively recruiting marine mechanics throughout Australia who wish to become authorized electric outboard retrofitters.

“Although the sheer number of ICE vessels in both Australia and the world means that fuel requirements will still have a long runway,” said Johnson, “the electric revolution offers opportunities for the savvy, and a big sigh of relief from the planet!”

More information about the EClass rePOWER kits can be found on the EClass Outboard website and in the Plugboats Marketplace (see links below). They can be shipped anywhere in the world.

EClass Outboards

EClass Outboards and rePOWER kits in Plugboats Marketplace

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