At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today, Mercury Marine unveiled its highly anticipated Avator 7.5e electric outboard, which was first showcased in prototype form at last year’s Miami International Boat Show.
The company is one of the worldwide market leaders in outboards and in 2021 made their initial commitment to launching electric models. The Avator brand is the company’s electric program and the 7.5e model is the first in a series of electric outboard products to be released this year.
Avator 7.5e electric outboard first in new program
“We are excited to formally introduce the Avator 7.5e electric outboard to the world,” said Chris Drees, Mercury Marine president. “As the innovation leader in the marine industry, both in internal combustion products and now electric propulsion, we have the resources and knowledge to make boating more accessible to more people, while building on our commitment to sustainability. The Avator program is helping us do this in new and exciting ways.”
The Avator 7.5e electric outboard generates 750W of power (.75 kiloWatts) at the prop shaft and produces similar speed and acceleration as a Mercury 3.5hp FourStroke outboard. Offered with tiller or remote steering, it’s ideal for powering many small boats, including tenders, jon boats, inflatables and kayaks.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Avator 7.5e electric outboard is the swappable batteries, which load from the top. There is also a quick-connect mounting system and intuitive controls for easy setup and operation. A full-color display tracks battery level and range.
‘Complete propulsion system’
Tim Reid, Mercury Marine vice president of product development and engineering, said. “Every aspect, from the controls, props and digital gauges to a mobile app, are designed as parts of a complete propulsion system specifically designed for the advantages of electric propulsion”.
Smart chargers constantly monitor voltage and current to deliver a safe, effective charge and can shut down to protect the battery if there is an issue. An intelligent digital display continuously tracks current power status and estimated runtime.
This can all be connected through the all-new Mercury Marine app, available for iOS and Android devices. Boaters can access the app for free to enjoy basic functionality, including a library of tutorials and the ability to connect with a preferred dealer for expert support.
Adding a Mercury SmartCraft Connect module to the outboard unlocks advanced features of the app. These include a GPS map for planning trips and visualized range estimates. The app can also be used to track speed, battery level, outboard hours and system notifications.
Swappable 1kWh lithium-ion batteries
The 1kWh lithium-ion battery was developed in partnership with the battery experts at Mastervolt and engineered exclusively for marine duty. It’s a safe, reliable 48V power source that’s been drop-tested and IP67 rated for water resistance.
The simple system for estimating range of an electric motor is the power of the motor in kiloWatts (kW) multiplied by the energy capacity of the battery in kiloWatt hours (kWh). In one hour, the 3/4 of a kW Avator will use 3/4 of a kWh – meaning a run time of about an hour and 20 minutes at full throttle. It will run for longer at reduced speeds.
The swappable battery system means that range can be doubled simply by carrying another battery on board, as boaters do now with fuel cans. The weight of a single battery is 16 lbs / 7.1 kgs. A 5 gallon / 20 litre can of gas weighs about twice that (31 lbs / 14.2 kgs).
One of the things that increases the increases the efficiency of the Avator 7.5e electric outboard is its transverse flux motor. Flux refers to the power of magnetic fields that make a motor spin around. A transverse flux motor uses a different winding of the coils in the motor that increases low-speed torque and efficiency.
High efficiency transverse flux motor
Practically, this means the motor can generate high torque with little effort, maximize battery life and range while contributing to faster acceleration and more efficient overall performance.
In addition to the Avator 7.5e electric outboard, Mercury today also launched Veer, an all-new boat brand designed to support electric propulsion a new range of boats designed specifically for use with electric motors.
The company says that the Avator program “continues Mercury’s commitment across all product lines to redefine marine propulsion in ways that leave a positive impact on the environment” and each electric outboard is crafted with many components that are recyclable or reusable.
“Every aspect of the Avator 7.5e electric outboard was designed with the same attention to quality, durability and reliability as all Mercury products, said Reid. “We’re confident it will deliver a superior boating experience for boaters interested in powering small vessels with electric propulsion.”
Mercury has plans for the larger motors in the Avator line, the 20e and 35e electric outboards, to be in market later in 2023.