Being eco-conscious is deeply rooted in the boating lifestyle. Boaters have a unique appreciation for the natural aquatic environment and ecosystem around them. Add to that the Coronavirus pandemic that caused a spike in boat purchases, and you get an accelerated adoption of, and demand for, electric boats. So, the answer to the question “Are electric boats on the rise?” is a resounding yes!
According to BlueWeave Consulting, the global electric boat market is estimated to rocket to 18-billion-dollars by 2026. That’s no small booty! Market research also shows that by 2028, fully electric boats will blow hybrids out of the water and capture 85 percent of the market.
What is an Electric Boat?
Basically, electric boats are vessels powered by an electric motor. They also often use renewable energy sources like solar panels, wind turbines, and towed generators. In the past, there has been a bit of reluctance on the part of boaters because gas and diesel have the advantage of range. But this is quickly changing because technologies such as power storage, solar panels, and wind turbines have gained efficiency.
Pros and Cons of Electric Boats
There are lots of pros to going electric. But there are still a few cons – although the cons are vanishing with improvements in technology.
- Quiet fishing without scaring the fish or disturbing wildlife
- Environmentally friendly
- Preferred by community lakes because they’re cleaner and quieter than gas or diesel
- Quickly becoming more affordable
- Easier maintenance – no changing oil or checking the fuel tank, and no need to winterize the engine
- Gas and diesel engines are still stronger than electric, and better suited for large and choppy bodies of water
- Replacement parts may be harder to find – but expect them to become more accessible in the near future
- Fewer mechanics have experience fixing electric motors – again, this is a short-term issue as electric boats become more commonplace
Who’s Making Electric Boats?
There are over 100 manufacturers of electric boats and ships, according to a recent IDTechEx report, and the number is growing fast. It’s the wave of the future and manufacturers don’t want to miss it. And although the US is lagging a bit behind other more forward-thinking countries like Sweden, we have several quality companies producing zero-carbon electric boats. Take a look at a few manufacturers doing it right:
- Duffy Electric Boat Company has been building bay and lake cruisers for over 50 years
- Voltaire electric Yachts, founded in 2019, builds cutting-edge powerboats
- Silent-Yachts, with over 15 years of solar-powered experience, is the producer of the first oceangoing solar-electric production catamarans in the world
Will the Cost of Electric Boats Ever Come Down?
The prediction is that, like electric cars, the cost of electric boats will drop significantly. What will make this possible is demand, increasingly cheap electricity, and energy harvesting – through sun, water and wind.
There is no doubt that electric boats are a true game-changer for boaters. They will take the activity we can’t get enough of, and bring it to a whole new level. As electric boats steadily become more the norm than the exception, get out there and learn all you can before you make the investment. Pay more attention to the electric boats at the next boat show. Or better yet, do your own market research. Take a stroll up and down a few docks, locate the electric boats, and have a chat with the owners. That’s where you’ll learn the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Why not plan a trip to an upcoming boat show, or just another marina so you can stroll some different docks? Check out our interactive map to find your next great destination.