Elco has new versions of its EP-6, EP-12 and EP-20 electric inboard motors that are half the weight and one-third smaller in length and height than previous models.
The improvements come from the company’s patented ‘airflow’ design that lets the inboards run cooler while also reducing the copper windings, which in turn leads to smaller and lighter containing units.
The new models weigh in at 68 lbs / 30.8 kg for the EP-6, 70 lbs / 31.8 kg for the EP-12 and 72 lbs / 32.7 kg for the EP-20. Dimensions of all models are Length: 13.9″ / 353mm, Width: 12.7″ / 323 mm, Height: 11″ / 279 mm.
The electric inboard motors are designed for both new installations and refits, and the dimensions are compatible with the footprints of many diesel and gas motors used in sailboats. One of the units Elco mentions specifically is the Universal Atomic, which was extremely popular, especially in North American sailboats, from the 1950s to 1980s. Many of those engines are ready (or beyond ready!) for replacement, and the Elcos are a good electric option.
Elco motors are manufactured in the United States, and like some other US manufacturers, it rates its electric motors in horsepower rather than kiloWatts. The continuous output kW ratings of the motor are: EP-6: 3kW, EP-12: 6kW and EP-20: 10kW. (If you’re new to electric boats and are wondering how to decipher this, may we suggest The Plugboats Primer e-book – everything you need to know about the basics of electric boats. »» Purchase here for $5)
In one of our past Plugboats articles we gave a brief overview of the history of Elco, which was the first builder of production electric boats.
History of Elco electric inboards
Elco was founded months before the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair as the Electric Launch & Navigation Company when it won the contract to carry visitors around the fairground lagoons. Known formally as the ‘World’s Columbian Exposition, the Fair was one of the great landmarks in electricity itself when President Grover Cleveland opened it by pushing a button to light 250,000 electric bulbs.
During the first World War it built boats for both the British and U.S. navies and throughout WWII built more of the 80 foot PT (patrol torpedo) boats than any other manufacturer. In the movie PT-109 about future President John F. Kennedy’s exploits on one of the boats, the Elco script logo can clearly be seen in a few scenes.
It has continued to innovate, and in 2014 was nominated for 3 awards at the Electric Hybrid and Marine show for its EP-100 motor, a Saildrive Coupling that matches up with Yanmar lower units, and a Chief Engineer of the Year nod for Chief Technical Officer Joe Fleming.
Fleming was instrumental in reviving the Elco brand in the late 1980s when he saw that there was interest in the classic electric launches the company had built during the first part of the 20th century.
The company was acquired in 2009 by wooden and classic boat enthusiast Steve Lamando, who expanded the boat building operations and also leveraged the company’s long and unrivalled experience to increase awareness of its motors.
In addition to EP-6, 12 and 20, the company also has 40, 70 and 100 horsepower electric inboard models as well as electric outboards with horsepower ratings of 5 HP, 9.9, 14, 20 30 and 50HP.
As Lamando told IBI News earlier this year ““That’s the future of the business. The market for the launches is limited because they are expensive boats, but the propulsion systems segment is growing like wild. Elco invented the electric boat, and it has a role to play in taking electric boating into the mainstream.”