Rhode Island startup Flux Marine debuted its new electric outboard line at the Newport International Boat Show in September and came away as the winner of two Newport for New Products Awards: “Best Green Product ” and “Best New Boating Operation, Maintenance or Safety Product.”
From the beginning the company has been no stranger to awards and rewards. The project started in 2017 as thesis work in electric marine propulsion by Ben Sorkin at Princeton University. In 2018 Flux Marine was founded and Sorkin was joined by fellow Princetonian Jonathan Lord and Daylin Frantin of Boston University (BU).
Course record at US Electric Boat Association challenge
The venture was accepted in the BU Accelerator program and became one of the selections in that year’s MassChallenge program for innovators, where over 1600 startups from around the world were evaluated by 800 academics, investors, serial entrepreneurs and corporate executives.
They went on to receive a Catalyst Grant from the InnovateMass program of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, landed top honours in the 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition, a $50,000 Innovation Voucher from the RI Commerce Corporation and won the Electric Boat Association of America’s Wye River Challenge, setting a course record in the Single Hull Unlimited class.
While the 2020 pandemic situation obviously disrupted progress, it also gave the team a chance to experiment and perfect the technology and configurations. In July of 2021 they powered the chase boat for the Promoting Electric Propulsion (PEP) competition of the American Society of Naval Engineers at the Naval Yard in Baltimore, Maryland. They had participated themselves in the 2018 PEP.
New electric outboards available in 4 models
Newport was the big reveal, when they participated in one of the largest, best known and most influential boat shows in the United States. As the first major show of the fall boat show season, foreign and domestic manufacturers come to NIBS as the place to launch their new boats and boating products.
In the Newport For New Products (NFNP) program, conducted in partnership with Yachting, Cruising World and Sailing World, industry experts judge each entry on opening day and awards are presented in 10 categories. There were 7 products qualifying as ‘Green’, with the award for Best New Green Boat going to the Salona 46 electric sailboat while one of Flux Marine’s two wins was for overall Best New Green Product.
The Flux Marine 100 HP outboard motor at Newport demonstrated top speeds nearing 35 knots and a range of 75+ nautical miles. Range, of course, is dependent on many things, including the efficiency of the hull. The demo craft was the Flux 21.5’ dual console boat and electric outboard package.
The company also offers electric outboard motors of 15, 40 and 75 horsepower. Like many US manufacturers, Flux uses horsepower instead of kiloWatts, so purchasers have an easier comparison. The corresponding kiloWatt ratings for the motors are:
15 HP: – 11 kW continuous with 22 kW peak (30 HP peak)
40 HP: – 30 kW continuous with 45 kW peak (60 HP peak)
70 HP: – 52 kW continuous with 86 kW peak (115 HP peak)
100 HP: 75 kW continuous with 112 kW peak (150 HP peak)
Available for pre-order from Flux Marine website
All outboards are compatible with standard 120V, 240V and EV fast-charging stations. The custom throttle system includes GPS, mobile connectivity and LED display with predictive range and speed output. All models have the Flux proprietary battery systems, belt drive and high-output drive trains capable of high continuous discharge. A heat exchanger in the lower unit eliminates the need for seawater circulation.
The 15, 40 and 70HP motors, which range in price from US$4,000 to $12,000 (not including batteries), can be pre-ordered from the Flux Marine website for delivery in summer of 2022, with a refundable deposit of $100.
There are also boat and motor packages available – a 13 foot inflatable and 21 foot dual console – both of which have standard and extended range battery options. The 100HP outboard on display at the Newport show is available as part of the dual console package and the company welcomes inquiries about repowering any boat hull with the electric outboards, including the 100HP.