WaVeS #20 – electric boat and boating news

Plugboats WAVES (Watts, Amps, Volts, Electrons) is an occasional collection of electric boats and boating news items that we have written about before and are updating, or items we are going to write about but are waiting for more information / developments – or items that are just tidbits you might find interesting.

Here is WaVeS #20, with electric boat and boating news about:

  • a V2G (Vessel to Grid) project on London’sRiver Thames 
  • 100+ year old marine engine distributor launches new Sustainable Energy division
  • Pure WaterCraft to use Tesla Supercharger
  • Swap out batteries add appeal to electric boat for rental operators.
  • New Zealand’s ZeroJet opens UK Office
  • Electric Winners of Foiling Week

Electric vessels on River Thames to feed electricity back to London grid 

Thames River aerial viewAn ambitious project is underway which could see a radical new relationship between Thames vessel operators and London’s electricity network.

The Electric Thames project, a collaboration between UK Power Networks, consultant LCP Delta, and electric propulsion expert Marine Zero, is assessing the viability of using electric vessels to feed stored electricity back into the capital’s energy network, accelerating the transition to Net Zero.

Using a principle similar to night storage heaters, battery-powered vessels on the Thames could store green energy when it is cheap to do so, such as when the wind is blowing or sun is shining, and feed it back to the grid during peak electricity hours. The approach could help increase the capital’s flexible energy capacity and reduce peak electricity demand.

The project, which is in its initial ‘discovery’ or scoping phase, supports the Port of London Authority’s transition to net zero emissions and London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s pathway for London to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030.

The discovery phase of the project, which is funded via the Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund, will conclude at the end of May 2024.

Thames vessel and quay operators will be surveyed over the coming weeks to identify and map out their needs. This will allow power suppliers to plan and complete any works needed to facilitate the move to cleaner vessel and river operations along the River Thames.

Andy Hurley, director at Marine Zero, said: “Electric Thames isn’t just about achieving zero emissions on our capital’s river – it is even more exciting and significant than that. We are developing a completely new approach to increasing energy flexibility by developing new income streams and flexible solutions for vessel and quay operators.

Marine Zero

100+ year old marine engine distributor launches new Sustainable Energy division

electric boats and boating manager Chris PonnwitzNew Jersey company Mack Boring & Parts, one of the oldest engine distributors in US, has announced a new division, Mack Sustainable Energy, that will be headed up by Chris Ponnwitz as Chief Commercial Officer.

Chris has spearheaded and grown the rapid growth of the ePropulsion electric line over the past 6 years. In his new position in the new division he will continue to expand the company’s presence in green marine technologies.

“Chris has been an exemplary leader for our company, and he’s a fast learner who has been working relentlessly to promote electric propulsion. We are known to invest in promising new products for the markets we serve, and the combination of our expertise in building brand recognition and after sales channels with ePropulsion’s best-in-class line of electric propulsion systems, is an ideal union.”

Ponnwitz started with Mack Boring in 2015 as Marketing Manager and quickly improved the promotion of company’s partners and Mack Boring as a whole. During his six years in his marketing role, Ponnwitz led the department through the evolution to digital promotion while continuing to execute a full suite of events, sponsorships, press relations and print.

In 2021, Ponnwitz accepted the role of Group Product Manager, Electric Group. With him leading the formation of Mack Sustainable Energy, Mack Boring is reinforcing its commitment to providing customers with the most efficient and sustainable products.

Mack Boring & Parts

Pure WaterCraft to use Tesla Supercharger

Pure Pontoon electric boatIn a move that is not entirely surprising, Pure Watercraft electric boats and motors has said that their products will use the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connectors used with Tesla superchargers.

Pure is owned 25% by General Motors and that company said owners of Chevrolet and GMC electric vehicles would be able to access the Tesla units in 2025.

The electric Pure Pontoon boat, developed in collaboration with GM, uses the car comapny’s 66-kilowatt-hour battery pack with single or twin 25-kW electric motors. Pure says one battery pack provides the equivalent of two gallons of gas range, more at lower speeds.

When GM announced the partnership in 2021, Andy Rebele, founder and CEO of Pure Watercraft, said: “This joint effort with GM is expected to enable us to make significant technological advancements in range and charging while achieving volume production.”

With high speed chargers having already being installed by Aqua superpower in Michigan, California and New York – with more on the way – the electrification of US waterways is starting to gather momentum. While all electric boats can be charged with low voltage chargers, consumer demand is for the convenience of high speed systems and electric boat adoption is expected to grow in tandem with the charging infrastructure.

Pure Watercraft

Swap out batteries add appeal to electric boat for rental operators.

Elcat electric boats for rentalOne of the realities electric boat rental operators recognize is that when the boat is being charged, it can’t generate revenue. 

Now GoSun has made some adaptations for rental operators on their Elcat Splash electric boat with ePropulsion Spirit Plus 1.3kw electric motor, a new 2024 steering console and quick-swap 1276wh lithium-ion battery.

GoSun is a manufacturer of solar power products for cooking, cooling, lighting, water and power that has sold over 100,000 fuel-free solar consumer products in more than 70 countries. They started selling and distributing the Elcat last year to both consumers and rental fleets.

They were attracted by how it complemented their existing product lines with its zero emission technology and ease of use, especially for first time boaters.

The inflatable Splash is made with drop-stitched, double-walled, structurally laminated PVC, making it very durable while being light and agile. It can carry 6 passengers with lots of space leftover and has a roof deck mezzanine.

“The GoSun Elcat is an amazing opportunity for either the rental operator or anyone who has access to a lake or inland waters. This boat provides one of the smoothest, quietest rides, with its highly efficient lithium battery that can deliver hours of fun before being either quickly exchanged or recharged by either shore power or optional solar panels,” said Jacob Harris, Technical Support Specialist for GoSun’s Boat Division.

GoSun says the low cost of operational ownership enables a high rate of return for rental operators. Interested parties can get more information by clicking on the link below. The Elcat will be exhibiting at the Washing DC Boat Show from May 3 to May 5.

GoSun Boat Rental Operation

ZeroJet opens UK Office

ZeroJet electric boat

Electric jet manufacturer ZeroJet has now opened a sales office in Southampton, UK, 18,500 km (11,500 mi) from the company’s New Zealand headquarters. The new outlet will be headed by locally-based Declan Price and Matt Forbes.
“We have outgrown our ability to meet the high level of interest and support required to service the European market, so timing is right to build our European team,” explained ZeroJet CEO Mark Robotham.
Declan will be returning to the UK after spearheading ZeroJet’s sales from New Zealand and Matt Forbes brings his extensive boat builder knowledge across the European Market to the team.

Highfield RIBs are available with the ZeroJet propulsion system and a number of other boat builders are well into their development programmes to integrate ZeroJet’s into their 2024 boat release programmes.

One of those companies is Latvia-based SPARK Boats. The founders have a background in designing world-class composite structures for Olympic athletes competing in kayak, canoe, and bobsleigh events and decided to transfer this expertise into the electric boat market with a ZeroJet Powered lightweight composite tender.

ZeroJet’s initial company roots came from serial entrepreneurs and co-founders Neil Mans and Bex Rempel’s success in high performance powered surfboards, resulting in a number of records including 75 km/hour electric powered vessels.

In 2019 they pivoted the business to apply their technologies in the small boat arena and the ZeroJet brand was born.

They raised seed capital in 2020, and had a successful Series A financing round in 2022 led by Venture capital firm Movac and Australia’s Investible Climate Tech Fund.

After live testing and on-water experience they developed their Generation 2 system with a new jet pump and in-house purpose-built electric motor that enhanced performance and efficiency.

The Gen2 system was showcased at METSTRADE 2023 in Amsterdam, and the partnership with Highfield Boats was recognised in the Boat Builder Supply Chain Collaboration Award category.

“We look forward to growing the business in every market 2024 in partnership with new and existing boat builders and investors,” said Robotham. “ZeroJet’s intellectual property and growing list of great boats with our systems makes ZeroJet a company worth watching.”


Electric Winners of Foiling Week

Futur-E-Foiling electric boatThe 11th Foiling Week was held in Genoa, Italy on April 18 and it included the seventh annual Foiling Awards. Established in 2016, the Awards have become a benchmark for foiling enthusiasts and insiders and a coveted accolade for those who win them.

Foiling includes both wind powered and mechanically powered craft and electric boat companies took home three awards this year in the categories for Motor Boat, Commercial Project and Water Toy.

The winners are decided by public vote in 13 categories with a 14th award, the Forlanini Award, presented by a jury to the the best overall foiling achievement of the last 12 months in honour of  Italian foiling pioneer Enrico Forlanini. Forlanini conceived and tested the first foiling prototypes on Lago Maggiore, which reached speeds of 38 knots in 1906 – almost 120 years ago.

Winner, Motor Boat: FUTUR-E- Foiling
Awarded to the best engine powered foiling craft of the last 12 months.
The FUTUR-E resembles a hydrofoiling car on water, as seen in the photo above. It combines technology from the boating industry, car design and aviation with an integrated kinematic system of automotive inspiration, similar to Formula 1 car suspension. 

Futur-E Foiling

Winner, Commercial Boat: Artemis EF-20H Patrol
Awarded to the best foiling project of the last 12 months intended for commercial use.
Artemis eFoiler Patrol vessels are designed for service with companies and organizations such as Coast Guards, offshore wind turbine operators and offshore oil rigs. The hybrid EF-20H Patrol has a two floor cabin which can accommodate 5 crew and 15 passengers. Artemis says its “unrivalled stability reduces the risk between helicopter and boat manoeuvres, ensuring smoother and safer transfer of personnel or cargo.”

Artemis Technologies  

Winner, Water Toy: Hydroflyer
Awarded to the best foiling “gadget” of the last 12 months.
One rider of the Hydroflyerdescribes it as feeling “like a cross between a hoverboard, jetski, deep-powder snowboarding & flying, without any drag, bumps or shocks, just pure glide.” Looking like a e-foiling board with handlebars, it uses a wifi controller attached to the handlebars to control the speed. The controller feeds the signal to the onboard computer, which in turn signals the lithium battery to power on the motor. Once the rider reaches a speed of around 4-5 knots, the power of lift and thrust begin to work their magic, and the Hydroflyer starts to lift out of the water.


Foiling Week/We Are Foiling

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