JAN 09, 2022 AT 10:51 PM
Silent Yachts is the company that creates electric boats and yachts, mainly catamarans. The company is really successful in gathering investments and promising that it’s about to bring a new era in yachting. But actually, the buyers aren’t forming big lines in front of the company’s offices. And we decided to learn why. Electric boats seem to be the right step after we are turning to electric cars. But it may be a little different in the water, right? We need to see the risks and possible problems in order to buy the boat that will take us to the needed places safely and quickly.
Today we are talking about electric yachts and boats in general and only using Silent Yachts production as examples. We’ll try to look at the pros and cons of electric watercraft and also to compare them with diesel-powered boats to see the actual difference. That’s going to be hard as there is little to no information on some very interesting boats with electric-powered engines as they are only starting on the market. But we’ll try. And we propose you to join.
Why electric boats are now in crisis?
These watercrafts haven’t even started to sell well, but they already have a huge amount of problems and criticism. Why?! We love Tesla cars and we are looking forward to any other EV producer coming to the market and selling something new. What’s wrong with yachting and boating? We stick to our diesel and petrol-powered engines and don’t want to change them to any electric boats.
Well, there is a whole bunch of problems that you have to consider before buying any electric watercraft.
The first thing is electricity and water – they are incompatible. Even if you have a huge Silent Yachts catamaran, you can’t predict how water can get to the hulls, to motor rooms, and destroy everything. With old diesel engines that won’t work that bad. Also, once water affects all those tiny electric connections, the boat is done. You will have to spend thousands of your dollars and days of your life to repair it and even to find a person who will be able to do it. Are you ready to swear that water will never get into your boat? We aren’t.
The second thing – they are way too expensive. It’s not like that in a car. When you drive an electric car, the motor will only be fully loaded when you speed up. As soon as the car is at its optimal speed, the motor is loaded 15-20% of its power, and this ensures low energy consumption. On the water, it’s not like that at all. The motors will be loaded all the time because water resistance is a constant thing, it won’t be any lower when you achieve the cruise speed. So, producers need to pack the boat with huge batteries and endurable engines to make it worth buying. It results in big prices.
Then we need to point out that electric boats are very slow. They are like turtles in the world of boats because producers have to lower the load to batteries for letting you travel at least some decent number of miles per one charge. At higher speeds, the battery will run flat in minutes and leave you in the open sea with a paddle in your hand. By the way, you should buy a good and efficient paddle if you are going to have an electric boat.
The range of electric boats just can’t be good enough. Even with those massive solar panels charging the batteries of Silent Yachts catamarans, you will only get a drop of energy. One possible way is to carry a diesel generator with you all the time. But won’t it be easier to just buy a diesel boat? If you see specs of Silent 55 by Silent Yachts, it says ‘Unlimited Range’. Yeah, but you’ll need to stop every 10 minutes to recharge your batteries with those ugly solar panels on the roof. At night you’ll need to anchor the boat and wait until the sun is out.
You may think, OK, but these electric boats are environmentally friendly, so I’ll get one! Good of you to think about the nature and environment, but these electric boats aren’t that eco-friendly. The pack of batteries in them is so huge that you’ll need to pay loads of money to recycle them. Did you know that Lithium-ion batteries aren’t recycled properly? And there is even no proper technology to recycle them without big problems for ecology.
You may think, well, then I’ll need to find a lot of charging stations on my way. You may be amazed to know that the majority of docks in the US have no access to high output power stations that may charge your boat quickly. With a simple socket, the recharging will take up to 24 hours and even more for some boats. No longer an option for you, right?
We can’t forget about the prices. Let’s take a solid boat Silent 80 which is an 80 feet long yacht powered by electric motors. It starts at $4.6 million and it still has all the major problems that we’ve been talking about. A stunning 80 feet long diesel-powered yacht will cost around 1 to 2 million dollars if you want a simple mass-produced version. The cost of maintenance is hard to compare. Electric boats will be three times more expensive in use.
The completely new technologies of electric boats may be one more reason why people don’t want to buy them. If you have always had diesel or gas-powered boats, you will want to buy another fossil fuel boat because you know how to deal with it. It’s again very different from cars. If you drive an EV for the first time, you’ll see no major difference with an internal combustion engine but better acceleration. With boats, it’s not like that.
Let’s talk about the pros of electric boats
Well, electric boats are still a very good perspective if the companies keep developing infrastructure and invent new sources of energy. These boats and yachts may use the sun, water, fuel cells, wind, different types of generators to charge their batteries and become really efficient and eco-friendly.
Also, these boats can go to areas where vessels with internal combustion engines are prohibited to go. This can be a great advantage for traveling across ecology parks or some other zones requiring zero emissions. These boats are completely silent, there is no vibration. It creates new opportunities for using the vessels in both private and commercial spheres.
These boats may have a simple construction with much fewer chances to get stuck in the open sea due to technical reasons. The engine is very simple, there are no gears and transmissions, even the steering system is much easier in use and in construction. If producers work better with all those wires, these boats may be much more convenient than the traditional ones.
One more thing to mention here, you’ll get a lot of attention from all those people who love marine vessels. It’s something new and unbelievably technological. Do you remember those first proud Tesla drivers? We all wanted to come to them and ask how it felt to drive such a car. The same thing happens when you have an electric boat or yacht. When it silently comes to the dock, everyone wants to know, where the motor is and why it doesn’t shake like a traditional boat.
There are still more minuses than advantages, and it’s all up to you to decide whether you want an electric boat. But anyway, the technology is here and it’s going to develop whether we want it or not.