An Electric Motor For Boats

Nautique's Super Air Nautique 230 E is a straight electric drive ski boat.

Super Air Nautique 230 E

LTS Marine developed this custom drivetrain and battery bank for recreational boats.

Nautique's Super Air Nautique 230 E is no hybrid. It's a straight electric drive powered by Montreal-based LTS Marine's brushless, permanent magnet motor. It makes 74 kW (100-hp) continuous power and 154 kW (206-hp) maximum power, delivering 625 foot-pounds (850 NM) of torque to the prop. What does all this mean?

One nice thing about electric engines is that they are all torque all the time, even at low speeds. Compare the Super Air Nautique 230 E's 625 foot-pounds to the 328 foot-pounds a typical 300-hp gasoline IC engine makes. (Torque = 5250 x HP/ RPM) That's why ships and tugs and locomotives run on diesel electric. The same characteristic that allows a mile long freight train to start moving down the tracks, enables the Super Air Nautique 230 E to pop pro wakeboarder Kyle Rattray right up despite modest horsepower. See for yourself in this video.

At 24-mph the Super Air Nautique 230 E consumes 124 kW. It is dead silent at idle and hushed at cruising speed, as you can hear in the vid, posting just 79 dB-A on our test meter.

How fast is top speed? We recorded 34-mph.

How long can you run between charges? That’s the big question for this and other electric craft. E-power is cool, but so far battery technology hasn’t kept pace with the growth in demand for alternatives to internal combustion marine propulsion.

That said, with its custom LTS Marine 80 kW-h battery bank, we were able to make multiple ski runs over a 3 hour period before returning to the dock. Recharge time is about 4-1/2 hours.

Look for our full-blown boat test with hard data in the months to come.

Takeaway: One kilowatt equals 1.34 hp.