The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has become one of the favourite places for Mercury Marine to announce their electric propulsion technology.
It was one year ago at CES that the company launched their first electric outboard, the Avator 7.5e. Since then they have put the model into full production and added the Avator 25e and Avator 30e. The 7.5e has rated propeller shaft power of 750 watts (.75 kiloWatts) while the 25e and 30 are rated at 2.2kW and 3.7kW respectively.
Lineup of 5 Mercury Avator electric outboards
At this year’s show the company is displaying two new higher power models, the Avator 75e and Avator 110e. Following the same numbering/naming system, the 75e produces 7.5 kW of power and the 110 produces 11 kiloWatts.
The simple equation of translating kiloWatts to horsepower is to multiply the kilowatts by 1.3 – so the Mercury electric outboards range from 1 to 15 horsepower.
The company says that the new motors are being “Showcased for the first time at CES 2024 and slated to be available later this year, they’re our most powerful electric outboards yet, offering boaters the capability to propel aluminum fishing boats, compact pontoons and even small fibreglass runabouts with an efficient, all-electric system.”
The efficiency and power of the Avator line shows off its transverse-flux motor technology. Basically, there are two kinds of electric motors in general use. An axial flux motor (flux is a measurement of magnetic force) has magnets arranged along the sides of a tube, while a radial flux motor has the magnets at the ends of a much shorter cylinder. The transverse-flux motor combines the two.
The motors, of course, are only one part of an all-electric system, the other essential component being the battery. The 7.5e has an integrated slide-in-slide-out battery, which makes it very feasible to bring along an extra pack in the boat and swap a discharged battery for a charged one almost instantly.
Each pack holds 1 kiloWatt hour of electricity. Mercury’s testing with a 13-foot Veer V13 boat (382-pound dry weight), showed “the Avator 7.5e electric outboard can run for 60 minutes or 5 miles at constant full throttle, with one fully charged 1kWh battery, and up to 19 hours or 34 miles at constant 25% throttle.”
Larger, modular batteries
The larger motors require larger batteries, which make swapping difficult. They use the company’s 2.3 kWh modular batteries which weigh 48 lbs /21.7 kg and can be connected to increase range, which requires a Power Center integrated hub that distributes power from the battery bank throughout the system. The Center also handles the charging and can distribute electricity to four batteries simultaneously.
As for timing of when the motors can actually be purchased, the only indication is ‘slated to be available this year.’
In addition to the new Avator electric outboards from Mercury, parent company Brunswick is also using the CES show to show off its credentials as a tech company, demonstrating the slogan it introduced at last year’s show: Next Never Rests.
Brunswick Chair David Foulkes told Michael Vernon of the Robb Report “This is one of the few places where we can present ourselves entirely as Brunswick. At boat shows, the attendees only see our individual companies like Mercury Marine, Boston Whaler, and dozens of other brands we own. This lets us showcase the full power of our technology.” Mr. Foulkes was formerly Brunswick’s chief technology officer.
At this year’s show Brunswick division Boston Whaler is showcasing a 405 Conquest that features an autonomous docking system using multiple stereo cameras and precise thrust vectoring and position control.
A connectivity exhibit profiles solutions like C-Zone Mobile, VesselView Mobile and other applications that allow boaters to maintain contact with and remotely interact with their boat and also benefit from enhanced safety features.
Winner of CES Innovation Award
There is also a Brunswick ‘Marine of the Future’ exhibit concept that features Freedom Boat Club and its global, shared-access boating participation opportunities.
Last year the Mercury Marine division was named a CES Innovation Award honoree in the Sustainability, Eco-Design & Smart Energy category for the Avator 20e and 35e electric outboards. There may be another award in store this year.
“We are excited to be centre-stage again at CES in 2024.” said Foulkes. “Our exhibit demonstrates that Brunswick is committed to sustainability, provides multiple, exciting entry points to the on-water lifestyle and boating for every situation and life-stage, and brings unique, industry-leading and consumer-focused technology that is at least on par with and sometimes beyond advanced technologies in other verticals.” said Foulkes.