We are often asked how going electrical is good for the environment, or if it even is good for the environment?
Changing to an electrical motor does not necessarily make your boat any more environmentally friendly! The real focus should be on reducing the total energy consumption of your boat, and here the electrical motor is a great tool to achieve this.
When you are powering your boat with a traditional piston engine, no matter if you run it on petrol, diesel or natural gas the efficiency rate of the motor will be around 30-40%. This means that 60-70% of the energy you have fed the engine with is wasted, mainly as heat and as mechanical wear and tear. The electrical motor on the other hand has an effieciency rate of around 90%. This means, that on the same amount of energy, an electrical boat will go twice as far as if it was powered by a combustion engine.
Now, it’s easy to see that the electrical motor is a good choice for reducing the energy consumption of a boat, but there are other factors to take into consideration as well. We will talk about two that often go hand in hand: the boats resistance in the water and the speed.
One safe way of reducing energy consumption of a boat, is by simply reducing the speed. To reach higher speeds, you need to consume more energy, no matter if it comes from an electrical motor or a combustion engine. This means, that taking it slow on the water, is not only relaxing and safe, it is also really good for the environment.
The other point we will touch is the shape of the boats hull.
How much resistance the hull creates in the water goes hand in hand with how much energy it needs to power itself forward. For several years the development of motorboats has gone in the direction of being faster and using larger motors, burning more energy.
This point is cruical to take into consideration when building electrical boats, if you want to claim to make a difference for the environment. Building a poorly designed electrical boat, needing a big motor and a lot of energy to power it,
does not necessarily make any difference to the environment or the amount of pollution it creates, compared to a combustion engine.
To sum this up, the most important thing to always keep in mind is to not waste our natural resources! By using an electrical boat you will use the energy in the most efficient way possible, and therefore waste as little as possible.
The last thing we will discuss is then of course, where does the energy you use in your boat come from? For a combustion engine, the energy usually origins from an oil field, or for “bio fuels” it usually comes from a plantation of some sort. After long transports and a lot of refining it finally ends up in your fuel tank. You don’t want to think about the whole process really.
For a plug in electrical boat, that needs external charging, the process is not very straight forward either. It’s difficult to say where your energy is coming from.
Is it coming from the windpark next door or is it coming from a coal power plant far away? Your energy source makes a huge difference in the environmental impact of your boat.
At Finer, we are trying to keep all of these things in mind when designing our boats.
It’s a conscious decision to make boats that travel at a slower speed. We put great effort in making hulls with the least possible resistance in the water. As all our boats are self-sufficient, we can also with certainty say where the energy powering the boat is coming from, and guarantee that it is 100% local, green solar power.
All of these things we do, with the same goal in mind, to reduce the impact on our environment and use our natural resources in the most efficient and intelligent way possible.