Sunday, January 27, 2008

Electric Propulsion

Way back when my dad built a submarine...Well calling it a submarine might be stretching it a little bit more of an underwater motorcycle made from an old wing tip tank from a Phantom jet, a half dozen electric motors, some pumps and a couple of saddles ( you know the kind that you put on horses!) Maybe that was the seed that made me want an electric propulsion system for my Sailboat...Maybe simply a need to tinker and be shunned by polite society.

That as it may be some four years or so ago I ripped out the old Atomic four and replaced it with the So It Goes mark one electric drive which was nothing more than a ETEK 48V motor, a Golf cart motor controller and a couple of belts to drive the prop shaft...It worked. It also overheated like a trooper and made neat patterns of solder on the interior of the engine compartment!

The overheating made needful the upgrade to the So It Goes Mark two system which replaced the ETEK motor with an Advanced Electric motor less prone to boiling water for coffee and throwing molten metal about the engine compartment...While I was at it, I got rid of the constant headache that the belt drive system caused and replaced it with a simple chain drive which also made experimenting with gearing easy as pie. The mark two system works quite well...

Not everyone of course likes to tinker and until recently the only available systems were silly and expensive ( anyone who thinks 144 volts DC is sensible on a boat may be interested in the tower I have for sale in Paris...) and the price tags for the so called systems available well I'm sure that they must give KY Jelly with the system because for sure someone is getting shafted!

Enter someone of like mind with some smarts...Electric Yacht has a very nice drop in Regen Electric Propulsion solution at a real world price that makes sense for folks who need to repower a classic plastic boat where a $20,000 electric propulsion system seems a bit silly in a boat that costs less than the motor. They currently have an all up price for the system as an introductory price of $3000...YOWZA!

For those in the serious cheap seats must not part with pennies camp or who just love to tinker...Thunderstruck EV makes a nice little kit that includes almost all of the needed stuff for $1150 for a non regen solution and $1450 for a Regen system both using the Mars motor which is quite the bees knees.

Electric propulsion makes a lot of sense and now that all the bits are easily found and purchased it is down right easy... makes for interesting beer can racing as well!