Time’s are a-changin’ (and a-chargin’): an electric outboard

I’ll have more to say when I’ve had a proper amount of time with it, but today was our test drive (in and around the marina basin) of a Torqeedo Travel 1103 electric outboard for our Highfield inflatable dinghy. I need a lot more on-water hours to get a sense of performance and range, but as a boating experience, it’s a game changer. The motor (immersed in the bulb down at the prop) is dead quiet, which is a huge change from running the 6-hp four-stroke Merc. I expect to hang onto the Merc, because there may well be outings or situations in which I will want its power and range, but I think the Torqeedo will take care of most everything we do now when we’re out in the main boat for a day or two.

For now, I’ll just note that it’s lighter than the Merc and has the power equivalent of a 3-hp gas motor. It disassembles quickly into three components: the main body with the transom mount, shaft, motor and prop; the tiller component, which includes the GPS-assisted computer that displays range, consumption and charge; and the lithium-ion battery, which forms the head of the unit. I can easily store them all inside our Limestone 24 EXP and leave the battery recharging from an outlet in the boat’s 110V system.

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