Make electric boats before the law requires it


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First 44 - Electric Boats
Electric boats. Beneteau recently unveiled the full-electric version of the First 44. Equipped with a 20 KWh battery pack, it uses all-electric propulsion. Batteries are recharged either in port or with a diesel generator installed on board. In low wind, the electric motor can be used, in total silence, to generate apparent wind under sail.

Without waiting for the ban on the endothermic engine, why don’t new boats become full electric? Sailing Newspaper editor Luca Oriani’s editorial

Electric boats before the law requires it

While the battle rages between the automakers and the Council of the European Union announced that from 2035 all new cars will no longer be able to mount the endothermic engine, all is silent in boating. But it is not certain that the rule will not be extended to recreational boating as well. European legislation says new vehicles must reduce their CO2 emissions by 100 percent by the fateful date of 2035. If we also mean boats as vehicles, that’s when the rule extends to boats as well.

It is not our job to interpret legislation, but why is sailing, and only sailing, not championing the clean green propulsion revolution, anticipating what will inevitably happen sooner or later?

Imagine, what an incredible marketing operation that would be and what a great boost and visibility it would give to the practice of sailing!

What, if not a sailboat moving on water propelled by the wind, should be equipped with an electric-powered motor, abandoning the diesel engine?

Madness, provocation? Let’s try to think about concrete data. In the auto world, the main problem for real full-electric deployment is to have a widespread, widespread charging network, as is the case with current fueling stations.

The brake on the development of electric with a widespread infrastructure network, it is obvious, lies in the economic and market implications, which to date have not been resolved.

But, think about it, in the boating world this problem is easier to solve. The electric charging stations, amazingly, are already there. Where. Simple, they are the same electrical columns at the ports. Of course, they need to be upgraded, with a considerable increase in usable kilowatts of power, so as to decrease charging times.

The sailboat also has a huge advantage over motor boats; it goes slowly and uses little energy to get around. Another positive element is its shape and weight.

The heavy battery pack that the electric-powered boat is expected to have can be strategically placed as centrally and as low as possible, so as to help straighten under sail and reduce pitching. The substantial reduction in space occupied by an electric motor compared to an endothermic motor are an added advantage in terms of extra roominess.

Besides, who but a sailor who by definition loves the sea, the environment, silence would not appreciate this solution and become an ambassador of the eco-environmental revolution, becoming a testimonial towards the “polluters”?

One key element is missing from this momentous change, engine companies. They should be the ones to accelerate the reconversion of their production, putting efficient products on the market that are less expensive than the few that are already there.

If everything we have described to you became reality, which of you sailors if you had to choose, perhaps spending a little more, would still opt for a diesel engine instead of an electric one? And who, if they had to change engines on their boat, would still choose an endothermic instead of a quiet, non-polluting one?

Ours is a dream, but one that could be realized in a short time. And it would be a formidable promotion for the sailing world.

Luca Oriani



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