While the world is busy piecing together a new generation of electric vehicles, Germany-based Torqeedo spotted a unique opportunity to engage the marine industry in making the same strategic shift.
Since 2005, at which time the market was completely unaddressed, Torqeedo has pioneered the development of electric outboard motors with a real focus on high performance and design. This element of the company really shines through when looking at its product range. Its smallest product, the Ultralight 403, is intended to be used on kayaks for local water cruising or river boating. It weighs 7 kilograms (including battery), can achieve a top speed of 9-10 kilometres per hour, and has a slow speed range of 42 kilometres. An example of a Torqeedo mid-range product would be its Cruise 2.0. It can provide 5-6 horsepower and weighs around 19 kilograms. Torqeedo’s most powerful product, its Twin Cruise 4.0R, provides boaters with the ability to travel faster and further on electric power as well as running larger boats such as pontoons, larger sailboats and catamarans. The product can provide 10 horsepower and weighs approximately 35 kilograms. Torqeedo has demonstrated that the product can give a range of up to 40 kilometres on an 18’ carbon center-console boat weighing over 270 kilograms.
Because battery power has typically been the gating factor in using electric outboards on boats, Torqeedo has oriented its design towards the optimization and interaction of all the system components. The overall efficiency of an electric drive system is given by the product of the partial efficiency levels of all components, therefore a single poor component can have a significant negative influence on overall efficiency. It is therefore the optimization of Torqeedo’s products that allows its electric outboards to act as a realistic alternative to gasoline ones for a larger variety of boating applications.
The benefits of the technology will be familiar to followers of the electric vehicle industry: lower operational costs (Torqeedo outboards run for up to 16 nautical miles on the energy equivalent to 20 grams of petrol); and lower maintenance costs (there are no gasoline spills from transporting your boat and no need to winterize your engine at the end of the boating season).
Torqeedo is currently able to supply boats requiring up to 10 horsepower “which is a €140 million market”, according to Dr. Alexander Domin, a principal at WHEB Partners, who invested in Torqeedo’s previous investment round last year. “The market will also change when we can address higher power classes in the region of 40-60 horsepower, which is a billion Euro market”, he added. The market is also being driven by an increasing number of “green lakes” which do not permit the use of gasoline boats. For many boaters wanting to cruise on these lakes, Torqeedo is their only realistic option.
The company is currently looking for €5-6 million to increase its sales distribution lines, open more sales offices, and bring more of its current product production in house in order to have more control over its supply chain. “Around half of this sum will come from existing investors”, Alex concluded.
To get this and other Cleantech Insights stories delivered weekly to your inbox, sign up for the Inside Cleantech Newsletter: