From Valencia Mar we want to do our bit to promote electrical energy, an ecological, clean and environmentally friendly form of energy, one that does not leave waste in the sea or emit harmful gasses, thus promoting emission-free navigation.
With this in mind, we have set out to ask three questions to customers who have already switched to electric motors, so that their experience can be used as a reference by all our customers who are thinking of changing boats or considering adapting their boats to electric motors.
- What made you decide to switch to hybrid / electric motorisation?
- What kind of changes have you had to make to the boat in order to adapt the upgrade to hybrid / electric?
- Pros and cons of an electric or hybrid motor.
D. Stephan Breuckmann
1. First of all, we must highlight the desire to turn sailing into a fully sustainable and environmentally friendly activity. My boat is a J/120 built in 1998. Both for its high build quality and timeless high-performance design, it is worth carefully preserving and upgrading.
Last year when it had a serious problem with the diesel engine, I decided to take the plunge and replace it with an electric motor. I use the motor mainly to get in and out of the port, which is why I decided on a 100% electric solution. The prospect of being able to get rid of the bad odours that diesel fuel carries on board overcame the (still) high cost of the batteries needed to achieve decent autonomy.
2. The electric propulsion system offered by Oceanvolt makes it easy to change as it takes advantage of the old Volvo engine/saildrive installation without having to make major modifications to the hull. All the necessary components occupy a fraction of the fuel engine and we managed to reduce the net weight of the boat by about 400kg, as well as being able to distribute the weight more favourably and centrally.
The support of experienced professionals such as the Volvo Penta Centre of Valencia Nautic Motor and the Oceanvolt distributor for Spain Nautamarine are decisive for the correct execution of the conversion. It is still a relatively new technology (in the world of sports sailing), which requires an entrepreneurial spirit to adapt to a specific boat and some “passion” from those involved.
3.The result meets my expectations: less environmental pollution, absence of bad odours, “silence” from the moment you let go of moorings, better management of motor manoeuvres in port (“docking the boat is a joy”) and reduced maintenance of the system propulsion are some of the advantages to highlight. Perhaps it is the best and least expected: almost 1 knot more on upwind courses – of course, the electric motor is the definitive solution to sail faster!
Disadvantages? The limited motor autonomy with the (current) batteries. To increase this and further reduce the carbon footprint, this year’s project is the installation of high-performance solar panels. I am also sure that the imminent development of more efficient batteries will remedy this problem in the medium term.
In short, it is necessary to be more aware of the use of available energy – but honestly, I do not see it as a disadvantage, but rather something that we must all learn…
D. Tom Whitby:
1. I decided to switch for ease of operation, much reduced maintenance (especially in oil changes) and to eliminate heat and noise from within the boat. Having “instant” always on and accessible is also much safer too. It makes motor sailing in length winds in combination with the www.advancedwingsystem.com Semi Rigid Wing Sail very efficient and very enjoyable. No noise! Finally having a huge propulsion battery bank means you can use that power for domestic systems so we have no gas! Induction cooking and electric air conditioning/heating.
2. None to the structure – the Oceanvolt system just slots into the original sail drive position. The electrical system was redesigned to work with the 48V system
3. Pro is ease of operation and enjoyment of us. The con is that you are buying all your diesel upfront so it is expensive relatively. Also, when if it does go wrong then you require remote technical support – you cannot be totally self sufficient.