Epoch’s Thoughts on the Electrification of Boating

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Answers to common questions about electrification of boating and how small electric boats and outboards will help speed up consumer demand

With advancements in electric propulsion technology, emerging environmental regulations, consumer interest in e-mobility and the rise in fuel costs, now is the time to move toward the electrification of boating.

At Epoch, we believe strongly that the future of boating is electric. 

Although the recreational boating industry may face some initial challenges in achieving widespread adoption, and some market segments like offshore may still not be ready for years, there are real opportunities to advance electric boating now. From electric outboards to battery technology and new electric-first boat designs, there’s significant momentum for the electrification of boating.

We believe that small, entry level boat packages suit many use cases ideal for electric propulsion now. 

So we wanted to share Epoch Boat’s answers to some common questions on the electrification of boating, bust a few myths and explain how we’re helping to move the industry forward.

Electrification of Boating Q&A

Epoch Boats is answering some of the common questions about electric boating, and how we are specifically addressing the boating industry’s challenges with electrification. 

Question: Are consumers ready for electric boats?

Epoch’s Answer: Yes! The electric vehicle market is growing at a rapid pace, with more and more consumers buying electric cars. Mindset regarding electric mobility is evolving quickly as consumers experience the many of the benefits of electric – from the environmental impact to fuel savings. Early adopters with electric cars will likely be the early adopters with electric boats, and as other boaters begin to see the rising use of electric boats the market will quickly follow.

Question: What are the consumer benefits of electrification versus gas?

Epoch’s  Answer: Whether on land or water, the benefits of electrification are plentiful. 

One of the biggest benefits of moving to electric motors is reducing our impact on the environment. As boaters, protecting our environment and the waterways we love is a huge responsibility. Transitioning to electric propulsion lowers local carbon emissions by 99%, improves air quality and reduces noise. Larger wakes caused by gas engines are also very destructive to shorelines. Electric motors require less maintenance with no oil changes, winterization, etc., so consumers will save time and money on maintenance and have lower energy costs. Epoch owners can expect to save about $1,000 USD per year in fuel and maintenance, as compared to a similar sized boat with a gas motor and no foils.

Question: Do electric boats perform as well as gas powered boats?

Epoch’s Answer: In terms of performance, there’s a myth that electric motors are only good for slow speeds with frequent stopping and starting… and that range is a issue. In reality, there’s a right motor for each boat type and use case so that you have enough power and range. A small lightweight boat doesn’t require a lot of power – and batteries provide plenty of run time for most use cases for a day on the lake or river. In terms of maintenance, environmental impact or cost, electric boats are the clear winner.

Question: What are the most immediate opportunities for electrification in the boating industry?

Epoch’s Answer: We think the biggest immediate opportunity for electrification of boating is in the smaller boat segment. By doing so, we could electrify 70% of the market overnight and those customers would have a better boating experience. That’s why we recommend smaller boats 12-18 feet that can be used as fishing skiffs, yacht tenders or runabouts. They are ideally suited for inland lakes and waterways, particularly helpful as waterway regulations adopt electric-only policies.

Question: Can electric motors replace gas motors?

Epoch’s Answer: Absolutely! Many ICE fishing boats already shut down their big engines and use a small electric kicker motor for trolling and low-speed maneuverability, but soon that secondary motor will be obsolete. In fact, with today’s wide torque band and incredible low speed efficiency, owners don’t need secondary small kicker motors at all. Just a single, rugged, low maintenance electric outboard motor!

Question: What are the remaining challenges related to mass adoption of electric boats?

Epoch’s Answer: One of the big differences with electric cars vs boats is that water is denser and requires more power than automobiles do to stay at speed.  Smaller, entry-level boats that are available at an affordable price will make electric boating accessible to more, addressing 70% of the new boat market. 

We invite you to explore a selection of recommended electric-ready boats and industry-leading electric outboard & trolling motors.

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