Electric boat motor crowdfunding hits €650k in first 4 days

Oceanvolt’s electric boat motor crowdfunding campaign has already hit 164% of its target only 4 days after its official launch on Finnish funding platform Invesdor.

As of Monday, September 14, a total of €655,000 (US$775,000) has been landed from 167 investments. It seems certain that more money will come in before the closing date of October 8 and give the campaign a good shot at reaching its maximum investment level of €1,5 million ($1.75M).

Second electric boat motor crowdfunding

Much of this early money came in before the official launch on September 10,  presumably from many of the people and companies that participated in an Oceanvolt/Invesdor campaign in May of 2019. That effort also blew past its target of €600k and hit its maximum – €2M – with 6 hours to go before its deadline.

The success of both rounds is a great vote of confidence in one of electric propulsion’s award-winning innovators and also in the future of electric boats and boating in general.

Oceanvolt was founded in Finland in 2004 by tech entrepreneur and keen sailor Janne Kjellman. Like many who lead the way in electric boats and motors, his main goal was being able to enjoy a day on the water without the fumes, noise and negative environmental impact of fossil fuel burning engines.

Award-winning technology, engineering

A few years later their SD8.6 electric saildrive was nominated for a much-sought-after DAME design award at the 2012 METSTrade industry convention, and in 2017 their Servo-Prop variable pitch system took home the DAME in the category of “Machinery, Propulsion, Mechanical and Electrical systems and Fittings”

The patented Servo-Prop is a clever piece of engineering that uses proprietary hardware and software to vary the pitch of the system’s propeller blades and uniquely allows them to turn more than 180 degrees.

This delivers optimal efficiency in forward, reverse, and hydrogeneration mode – where the propulsion system generates electricity and charges the batteries while sailing under wind power. In hydrogeneration (also called regeneration), the motor runs in reverse to become a turbine/generator and the movement of the water is what turns the propeller to run the turbine.

controls of Oceanvolt system showing hydrogenerationOceanvolt is one of the pioneers of hydrogeneration, and the Servo-Prop makes their regen system almost twice as efficient as a standard fixed propeller set up. With a boat moving at 7–8 knots it can generate more than 1 kilowatt and generate 3 kilowatts travelling at 11-12 knots.

These innovations and the high quality and precision of their products have combined to give Oceanvolt an excellent reputation with the core of sailors who have switched to electric motors. With these crowdfunding campaigns, their goal is to capitalize on the coming growth from thousands more prospective customers.

Potential global electric boat motor market: €400M • $475M

One of the signs that the company is positioning itself for mainstream growth is the hiring of CEO Tommi Lassila, who had been at huge multinational corporation ABB for 29 years, most recently managing the global sales network for its propulsion product services division.

electric boat motor crowdfunding led by Tommi Lasilla shown hereThe Invesdor outline notes that ‘going green is a megatrend’ and consumers are looking for ways to cut down emissions with electric mobility in cars, bikes, planes – and boats. It points out that regulators are also moving in the same direction, setting emission goals and passing regulations such as Amsterdam prohibiting the use of combustion engines on boats in its canals by 2025.

This all contributes to an estimate that “the potential global market for electric propulsion is approximately 400M€ per year”.

Like all good engineering and manufacturing companies, Oceanvolt is also working on making its products better. Some of the proceeds from last year’s crowdfunding round have been used to further refine the ServoProp product, test new batteries, chemistries and technologies, and bolster the software side of things as people expect expanded capabilities like instant over the air system updates and remote monitoring.

Another important thing they have done is launch a ‘Standard System’ concept. While we have talked about the ServoProp, Oceanvolt also has their original line of SD saildrives and the  AXC – Modular shaft drive motor system that can be ‘stacked’ to create power configurations of 10, 20, 30 and 40 kilowatts.

Lots of electric boat crowdfunding

It seems pretty apparent that more and more people are getting interested in electric drives for their boats, and Oceanvolt is not the only company that has turned to crowdfunding to help them get ready for coming demand:

…and GreenStar marine, a Swedish  company that designs and manufactures electric motors for sailboats, just wrapped up their FundedByMe campaign a few weeks ago (September 6) with a goal of €200,000 and a final tally more than double that: €475,000 for 4.7% of the company’s shares.

When people say they are investing in an electric motor for their boat, a crowdfund  isn’t usually what they mean, but the Oceanvolt campaign, like that of GreenStar, is an equity offering, in this case for 4.40 – 14.73% of the company shares. If you are interested, all of the relevant financial information can be found by visiting the Oceanvolt Invesdor page and registering with the site.

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