General Fishing Discussion

Why aren't we seeing much development in electric outboard motors?

11/20/22 @ 11:40 AM
The Muskie Kid
PRO MEMBER User since 12/11/02

Don't kill the messenger! And don't get me wrong, I'm old-school! I love gas-operated, combustion outboard motors, I always have! I even collect and rebuild some of the old ones!  But I can't help but ask how we're seeing an explosion in electric, battery-powered tools everywhere, except for internal combustion-powered outboard motors!  The reasons are many.  The elephant in the room, of course, is manufacturers of internal combustion engines, who can't be happy campers!  But it seems inevitable given the environmental, conservation, and eventual long-term economic savings from free solar-powered energy versus the economic and environmental cost of fossil burning, polluting the air, water, and any number of species, above and below, including 'US', by burning gasoline and oil.  The use of portable, rechargeable, battery-powered tools, charging time, thrust, and life, are constantly getting better, faster, stronger, longer, and cheaper!   So why no R&D or talk about the gasoline-powered outboard motor industry?  OK, there are a few electric outboards out there, but little has changed with them, and I can't find much at all in new developments in the existing gas-powered manufacturers either!  Both technologies are very expensive, but the big difference is, solar-powered battery technology for the outboard use market is in its infancy.  (Not even the leading electric trolling motor companies are doing much, if anything in developing outboard electric-powered motors, or they're just not saying!?)  Can't boat Mfg develop materials to cover the exposed surfaces of a boat with durable material to collect solar energy even on cloudy days to keep batteries, onboard back-ups, and lightweight portable power-packs easily available and charged like your power drill, lawnmower, and leaf-blower? All of these can be recharged by plugging into any A/C power source now, a power hookup on your pier, or even an outside-use, GFI extension cord.  No one likes to see the end of a technology that has served so well!  It's that change you hate to love/hate and embrace, but it's the price we pay for progress, or so I've been told!  BTW, has anyone else ever wondered if you could rig your battery-powered, electric leaf-blower with gears, a shaft, and a propeller?  I have no doubt they are working on it now.  I just wanted to see what fellow sports-people thought.  What do you think? 


Displaying 16 to 30 of 31 posts
1/13/23 @ 6:33 PM
User since 4/12/03

I think one of the issues. The market for small electric outboards. Is already taken with 24 or36 volt transom mounted trolling motors. The ones you see on small lakes. Hanging on the back of the 12 to 14 foot small boats. If youn the gunnelsthink about how long it takes a 10 amp battery charger to charge up a size 31 battery. Solar would take way longer.  Or to mention the majority of people trailer their boats. Then put it in the garage  or pole building. Which means solar would not work well. The solar panels do have an issue leaking lead and cadmium into the top soil. Plus only lasting some 20 to 30 years. Can I see where 50 years from now. Someone inverts a new flexible solar panel. That can generate way more power. That you could install on your gunnels. Yes I can. But we are not their yet.

1/13/23 @ 2:17 PM
User since 5/11/20


1/6/23 @ 10:46 AM
User since 8/28/03

Mercury just released electric motor.  https://fox11online.com/news/local/fox-cities/mercury-marine-launches-first-electric-boat-motor-outboard-fishing-fish-boating-ice-sports-horse-power-engine-steering-consumer-electronics-show-2023-las-vegas#

11/27/22 @ 7:26 AM
Brent Hess
Brent Hess
PRO MEMBER User since 12/18/07

Funny WR,

Just read an article that 70 percent of children between ages of 7-12 have fear and anxiety related to climate change. 

Crazy world we live in. 

11/25/22 @ 6:46 AM
Wacky Rig
User since 3/11/17

An inefficient solution in search of a crisis.  Those hyping the “climate crisis“ have succeeded in scaring some to glue themselves to walls and recently an airport runway in Europe.  Hopefully this crisis contagion doesn’t spread further…but it likely will as children are being bombarded with the hype.

11/25/22 @ 5:58 AM
User since 12/7/05

Outboard motors, by design and physics, are inherently inefficient. Prop slip is a real thing and you cannot be nearly as efficient as a vehicle with mechanical propulsion on land. This is the same reason we are not flying in electric planes...drones have proven that is not really possible. Flight time in a drone in warm temps is minutes...at 30k feet and -60 degrees F, you'd be lucky to make it to the next airport. There is no way I would trust my life to an electric outboard as my primary propulsion. As a trolling/kicker motor? Maybe if the technology doesn't cost a fortune, which as of right now, it does. 

11/24/22 @ 10:24 PM
PRO MEMBER User since 1/22/21

Yea LB, some people are really out there! Lol 

11/24/22 @ 9:27 AM
.Long Barrels
User since 12/9/14
I'll never own a electric vehicle or outboard.  Just ask the guy with the new Ford for sale in Wisconsin.  Its for sale for only $115k now.  he towed a 5k lb boat 107 miles till the battery died.  LMAO

Can you imagine what a 4 hour round trip fishing trip would look like???  Why people are backing electric for any main source of power besides a power tool and maybe something non essential like a lawn mower is just ridiculous.   Vehicles,  outboards etc...No freaking way.  Same for solar or wind to power your home...keep drinking the kool aide.

Sure,  Lithium batteries have taken the fishing industry by storm and they are great,  but to make them and recycle once they are junk is pricey.  We are robbing Peter to pay Paul but the govt is going to push push push cause someone is making big money down the line.  That's all it is,  clean energy,  dirty money.

11/24/22 @ 7:02 AM
User since 5/11/20

Batteries are the limiting factor right now. Torqeedo's Deep Blue electric outboard is the same power as an 80 hp gas engine, but it costs about $75k with the battery. Their website says run time at full throttle is about 25 minutes before you kill the battery and need to recharge it overnight. You could buy a second battery, but that costs an additional $65k and that still doesn't get you an hour at full throttle.  It will last all day only at idle speed, and that's what it's really meant for.

There are electric outboards to 180 hp out there right now. Run time for any of them at full throttle is minutes, not hours. It takes way more energy to push a boat through water than to roll a car over a paved road, so electric boats need much more energy than electric cars do. Add more batteries and you get into weight issues. It's just not practical, at least until we get better batteries that last longer.

11/20/22 @ 10:12 PM
User since 1/7/02

As far as using electric for the primary source of propulsion current technology isn’t practical. The cost is prohibitive, the weight of adequate batteries is a major drawback and the charging requirements aren’t readily available. On the other hand look at what is now available in new trolling motors, spot lock, self deploy and linking to onboard electronics to set course or follow contour depth lines. Couple that trolling technology will the options available in batteries from basic lead acid to AGM and now the lithium choices. This is where the useful technological advances are being seen. A previous post had a link to electric outboard available. 25-50 hp and $20,000-30,000 cost. Imagine what it would take to effectively power the 18-21’ fishing or recreational boats. 

11/20/22 @ 8:26 PM
User since 11/29/01

 The only way we will see gas powered outboard go extinct is if the radical lefties ban them.  I can take my 5 horse Merc 4 stroke and troll with it for 3 hours on a quart of gas. .  There is no way you can beat that. A battery that may cost less to troll with an electric trolling motor is great, however , the battery cost $125 for a cheap marine battery is not cheap, and $125 is a cheap battery if you are lucky to find it. At $4 a gallon , I can troll for 375 hrs. I have 171 hours on my 5 horse now and it is 3 yrs old. In 3 yrs that battery has  all but seen better days.. When I bought it, gas was $1.00 a gallon to boot so I was trolling Bago for about .25 cents for 3 hrs. of trolling. The battery cost is likely half the cost cause electricity is not going down at all.  My outboard  will likely be trouble free for another few yrs. and then a water pump is in order and that is it.  Darn cheap. 

11/20/22 @ 7:35 PM
Wacky Rig
User since 3/11/17

I think the true believers should simply go back to rowing and paddling.  Wind power has also propelled even much larger boats for centuries.  Those technologies served mankind well in the past.

Before the weekend fishermen scrap their outboards, how about the elites lead the way and convert their yachts?  They seem to want to tell everyone that the sky is falling but they continue to leave larger carbon footprints than the common folk. 

11/20/22 @ 7:35 PM
User since 7/30/10

Cost, charging times, lack of charging locations, cost, high voltage and water don't mix, did I say cost?

11/20/22 @ 4:33 PM
User since 10/20/05

Because batteries have terrible energy density compared to gasoline and solar cells wouldn't even come close to providing the required juice.

11/20/22 @ 1:13 PM
User since 10/3/12

Pure water craft

Displaying 16 to 30 of 31 posts

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