It is fair to say that the electric boat industry would not be where it is today without the efforts of Torqeedo founder and CEO Dr. Christopher Ballin, who has announced that he will be moving to an advisory role with the company.
After Dr. Ballin and his friend Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Böbel started Torqeedo in a boat shed on Germany’s Lake Starnberg in 2004, he led the company over the next 15 years to its position as the leading electrical boat motor manufacturer in the world. Torqeedo now has more than 200 employees and is active in over 100 countries, working with 2,000+ sales, service and boat builder partners. In April it celebrated the delivery of its 100,000th electric boat motor.
From the beginning Dr. Ballin had two goals. One was to build the best product on the market. The other was to make a difference in addressing the threats of carbon emissions and climate change that had been apparent to him even before the founding of the company.
As he told Future Markets magazine, “Even though terms such as ‘electromobility’ and ‘clean tech’ had not yet been coined back then, the underlying drivers were as familiar then as they are today: consistent global population growth, the doubling of the middle classes around the world in a decade, global warming and air pollution in cities …”
In their goal to ‘build the best’ Torqeedo pioneered many new technologies and adapted the rapidly evolving improvements in electric vehicle science to the needs of electric boating. The company developed motors specifically for marine use, propellers different from fossil fuel props, and monitoring systems to help the boat owner understand electric use and range.
The first Torqeedo products used lead acid gel or AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries with a 4 kW hour capacity. Today the company has a range of motors and lithium-ion batteries (some developed in concert with BMW) that can power anything from a kayak to a speedboat to a 34 meter superyacht.
Torqeedo founder will sit on Advisory Board
In 2017 Torqeedo was acquired by engine manufacturing giant Deutz AG as a way for the larger company to expand into the electric marine propulsion market. At the time Deutz’s CEO, Dr. Frank Hiller, said “Torqeedo will be the catalyst to give us a significant advantage in a very fast-moving competitive environment and mark the start of our E-DEUTZ electrification strategy.”
In addition to being CEO and Board Chairman of Deutz, Dr. Hiller is on the Torqeedo Advisory Board, where Dr. Ballin will join him and be able to devote time to new roles outside Torqeedo in the future.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped to make Torqeedo what it is today, all the members of the Torqeedo team and all of our external partners who have helped us to achieve success” said Dr. Ballin. “As part of the DEUTZ Group, Torqeedo is ideally positioned for rapid growth. The most exciting times for electric-powered transport lie ahead of us.”
Management of future Torqeedo growth
Management of Torqeedo’s future and that anticipated rapid growth will be overseen by company veteran Dr. Ralf Plieninger and new arrival Dr. Michael Rummel.
Plieninger has been with Torqeedo since 2012. His role within the new Torqeedo management team will involve taking charge of all technical matters, including research & development, procurement, quality, and production. He will also oversee Torqeedo’s operational structures and processes and be responsible for their continuous optimization.
Dr. Rummel joined Torqeedo as a managing director in November 2019 and is responsible for finance, reporting, and business performance, with a focus on improving profitability. Going forward, he will also take charge of sales, service, marketing, human resources, information technology, and the international subsidiaries.
Plugboats would like to thank Dr. Christoph Ballin for all his contributions to electric boats and boating, and wish him every success in his new role. Somehow, we also think that this will not be the last we hear from this dedicated and remarkable e-mobility pioneer.
Photo of Christopher Ballin by Wolf Heider-Sawall