Our Repowers: Boston Whaler 130 Sport with Torqeedo's Cruise 12.0 Electric Outboard
At EMO Electric, we're excited and passionate about electric boating. We truly believe that the future of boating is electric; electric outboards are quieter, easier to maintain, and perform better than their internal combustion counterparts, not to mention that they're much better for the environment. But we're also realistic about where things stand with electric boat motor technology right now. While small electric outboards have been around for decades (and about 15 years in their current form), larger electric outboards are a new technology. We're the first to admit that electric outboards won't work for every boater in 2023, and we believe that it's important to be transparent about this. Figuring out that certain electric outboards don't work with certain boats is just as important as finding the ones that do.
We discovered one of these combinations a few weeks ago when we swapped out Pure Watercraft's 50hp electric outboard with Torqeedo's Cruise 12.0 electric outboard on our Boston Whaler 130 Sport. The Cruise 12.0 is Torqeedo's largest motor in their low voltage line of electric outboards that run on 48 volts. It's a 12kW motor, which Torqeedo states is equivalent to a 25hp internal combustion outboard. When our Boston Whaler was manufactured in 2000, it came stock with a 30hp two-stroke. We knew that Torqeedo's Cruise 12.0 wouldn't be quite as powerful, but we wanted to give it a shot and were optimistic about getting the boat up on the plane.
We started off by removing Pure Watercraft's 50hp electric outboard, which was very straightforward. Pure Watercraft's system is as plug-and-play as we've seen, with one cable connecting the electric outboard to the battery, one cable connecting the battery to the throttle, and a 12 volt output from the throttle. At 112 pounds, the electric outboard motor is light enough that I was able to lift it off the transom alone without much difficulty.
The next step was mounting Torqeedo's Cruise 12.0 on the transom. Given that the motor is made in Germany, it doesn't use the standard American bolt pattern, so we had to fill the existing holes and drill new ones for the Cruise 12.0. After the epoxy dried, we mounted the Cruise 12.0 and wired it up. Torqeedo's system isn't quite as plug-and-play as Pure Watercraft's, but you don't have to be a marine electrician to wire it up. Red to red, black to black, and then connect the data cable. Easy!
We used two of Torqeedo's 48 volt Power 5000 batteries to power our electric boat. While it's possible to use just one Power 5000, doing so reduces the electric outboard's power output to only 6kW. For the throttle, we opted for Torqeedo's TorqLink throttle with color display. We liked that we were able to tilt the motor with the throttle and didn't have to wire the separate tilt switch, but it was clunky; in lieu of the usual button that you'd hit with your thumb on the side of the throttle, you have to use the buttons that control the screen to tilt the motor.
With our electric boat wired up and ready to go, we drove over to the ramp on a foggy April afternoon. As we shoved off from the dock, we were impressed by how quiet the electric outboard ran. When I was at Torqeedo's service partner training a few weeks ago, I learned that Torqeedo motors became much quieter after they switched to a helical gearbox. It wasn't much louder than my Travel 1103 CS 1kW/3hp!
Finally, the moment of truth had arrived. With the two of us in the Whaler, I slammed down the throttle and the boat sped up. But we just barely couldn't make it on the plane! It seemed like we were very, very close, and I was confident that we'd get her on the plane with only one person on board. So I dropped TR off at the dock and gave it another shot, but to no avail. She wanted to plane, but there just wasn't quite enough power. I bet a 13kW electric outboard would have gotten us there!
Somewhat defeated, we hauled our electric boat and called it a day. It was a good learning experience and now we know: if you want an electric 130 Sport Boston Whaler that gets up on the plane, Torqeedo's Cruise 12.0 electric outboard isn't a good choice. Pure Watercraft's 50hp electric outboard would be a better choice. In about a month, we'll have one of Flux Marine's 40hp electric outboards on the same boat. Stay tuned for an update there- we're expecting much better results!