Considering going Electric

gadangit

Member III
These are very good points. But it brings up yet another reason not to go electric. Sooner or later, most boats have to be sold. What will be the effect on the sale price of an underpowered, finicky, "boutique" propulsion system that only works on smallish lakes? Also, given that the technology is evolving all the time, it is almost guaranteed to be obsolete in a few short years.
I'm sorry to befoul this perfectly fine thread which is very similar to the dozens of other repower threads with the exception of having the word "electric" in it. But the level of ignorance posing as experience or knowledge is getting a little out of hand. I certainly don't want this to turn into a sailing anarchy post, but I feel I'm getting close.

I'll bet all my savings that I've sailed more miles last year than everyone on this forum combined. All with an "underpowered, finicky, 'boutique' propulsion system that only works on small lakes." Gimme a break.

All those "points" about gnarly conditions on a lake are not great points. Anybody who is hoping that a "powerful" diesel is going to be their salvation when the wind pipes up on a lake probably needs to brush up on their seamanship. And become a better sailor. Or buy a trawler, preferably one with two engines just in case one fails.

Battery technology is in it's infancy. My company is on a design team that PNNL just hired to design a lab that will be testing grid storage level technologies. There is a significant money, $Bs, being invested in R&D for battery technology. To think this is headed for obsolesce is pure folly. This is not buggy whip technology we are talking about.

Some day I hope to have the self assurance to post with such confidence on subjects with which I have no credible experience or knowledge.
 

David Grimm

E38-200
Just to add to the conversation. Going electric is an expensive and ongoing commitment. Remember your Iphone the day you got it. The battery seemed to last forever....two years later not so much. That is the best technology available and not available for boats. We have to settle for Lithium iron phosphate. Lithium ion as is in your phone tends to self ignite in sub par conditions. That being said new batterys will be really old worn out batteries in five years.

Our alternators are basically reverse electric motors. Lots of copper that corrodes and components that do not like water. I bet less than 1% of us are running the original 30+ year old alternator. I would estimate a fancy brushless motor would last 10 years in a salty marine environment. Of course you wouldn't have to shell out the $30 bucks a year I spend in diesel lol.
 

gadangit

Member III
Just to add to the conversation. Going electric is an expensive and ongoing commitment. Remember your Iphone the day you got it. The battery seemed to last forever....two years later not so much. That is the best technology available and not available for boats. We have to settle for Lithium iron phosphate. Lithium ion as is in your phone tends to self ignite in sub par conditions. That being said new batterys will be really old worn out batteries in five years.

Our alternators are basically reverse electric motors. Lots of copper that corrodes and components that do not like water. I bet less than 1% of us are running the original 30+ year old alternator. I would estimate a fancy brushless motor would last 10 years in a salty marine environment. Of course you wouldn't have to shell out the $30 bucks a year I spend in diesel lol.
If you want to scare yourself into never purchasing any type of battery again, read this:
From his data point of one:
LFP does lose capacity, even when not used, but how much is still open for debate and varies with storage SoC and storage temp. The yellow 400Ah cells in this article are 2009 cells and as of October of 2018 are still deliver in excess of 400 Ah’s under a 30A constant load. Of course this is an n=1, which in science really means very little.

My electric motor has lasted 8 years with no visible corrosion on the windings. I have done zero maintenance with the exception that the temperature cutoff thermistor that is buried in the motor was rendered useless by a nearby lightning strike. It actually happened twice, I have epoxied to the case a replacement thermistor twice, the second one is still working. I also lost the CAN bus display twice to the same strikes. Otherwise, I turn the key and off I go.

What data points do you have?
 

David Grimm

E38-200
I have 2500+hrs on my diesel along with many here with us. In a mini tractor they go 10k hrs. How many hours do you have on your motor? Same batteries after 8 yrs? How many batteries do you have? What's your range? Let's revisit this in two years and see where you stand. I love electric cars and boats. However they are more costly to run and have no range. Last summer I sailed into the entrance of the Hudson River into a dead calm hot July day. Motored 70 miles in 14hrs with ice cold beverages, electric autopilot and radio on all the way to Poughkeepsie NY. My 2 (100ah) iron phosphate house batts are about a year old. If they serve me 5 years I consider it a win.
 

gadangit

Member III
We have 1510+ hours on the motor so far. No, our first set of AGMs were replaced last year with LiFePo. Last year I sailed from Galveston Bay to Maine and back down to Florida again, lying Key Biscayne as we speak.

The point being that I don't comment on E27 questions because I don't have an E27. I don't have a water heater, but I'm not posting on threads about water heaters about how unnecessary they are. The intent of this forum is to help fellow Ericson boaters with shared experiences of our boats and the equipment on them. What gets old is reading people's opinions about equipment that they don't own or have no experience with. What is it about this topic that compels these posts?
 

David Grimm

E38-200
Gee the guy was considering disposing of a perfectly good diesel because of an exhaust elbow. You must be stuck somewhere with no wind on a coudy day to get all up tight about this.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
What's your range? On such long cruises, in calms, do you wait for wind? Is it practical to use the Inland Waterway? A diesel allows keeping to a schedule by motoring all day for days. To what extent can you achieve that? If not, how much inconvenience is that?

I wouldn't be surprised at the questions. It's amazing to me that you and Paco (and "Sailing Uma") can cruise the world without the usual expectations of motoring against current, avoiding shoals and storms by prolonged engine use, and so on.

Keep educating us. The issues are all specific and the answers may surprise us.
 
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Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
It's apparent to me that some in this discussion don't want a discussion or a differing opinion whatsoever. If we can't discuss and voice our opinion without being vilified(dislikes) in the process then it ceases to be a discussion at all. Just because it works for you doesn't mean it is right for everyone. Some of us like our fossil fuel engines and hot water for very GOOD reasons. No one has yet to tell me where all these batteries go when they die ? Recycled ? Landfills ? Buried in the backyard ? Thrown overboard ?
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
I wouldn't be surprised at the questions. It's amazing to me that you and Paco (and "Sailing Uma") can cruise the world without the usual expectations of motoring against current, avoiding shoals and storms by prolonged engine use, and so on.

Maybe electric works best at the extreme ends of the spectrum?

The guys who motors out and back in from the marina for 5-10 minutes every sail--electric may be perfect.

The liveaboard spending months or years at sea? What's a 4 day delay (from no wind and no sun) over a 90+ day cruise? It may be perfectly acceptable and just part of the experience of the voyage (unlike those of us on a 7-14 day vacation schedule, where 4 day delay could be a vacation wrecker).
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
Hi Mark, I don't believe I am ready or even interested in converting to electric. If my engine blew up tomorrow I am sure I would look for a used diesel replacement. Battery/electric power does not fit my sailing habits/needs. I applaud you and others who made the jump as early adopters and maybe in the near future we will all have an alternative to fossil fuel HP (hydrogen hopefully), that will better correspond with every ones expectations of auxiliary power . Do all marine electric systems use Lithium batteries ? :)
 

Kenneth K

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
I'd be interested in hearing how the electric folks might plan to deal with safety issues that might arise from having such large (and essential--since they power the boat) battery banks aboard.

In the event of flooding (hull breach, seacock failure, etc) I suspect a diesel would keep on running (for a while at least) until water got up the air intake. There are even some add-on systems that can convert the engine's raw-water pump into an "emergency" bilge pump. All one needs to do is keep the starting battery above water to be able to crank the engine.

I'd be concerned about wading around in wet clothes in standing salt water with hundreds (to thousands) of amps stored in submerged batteries. And, as soon as the water level hits the electric motor, I'd assume it's toast.
 

Filkee

Member III
This thread really is the closest to toxic that I’ve ever encountered on EYo. This has always been kind of a safe space. We make fun of each other and we support each other as appropriate but something weird is going on here. And yet I fell compelled to continue reading. Is electric report the new doom scrolling?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
When well intentioned folk cite their personal knowledge and personal education to attempt to get others to agree with them, I am briefly transported back to my ancient college days and the story of the blind men and the elephant.
Many citations of this on the 'net, and here is just one:

Thing is, we ALL know something, but it's doubtful that any of us knows everything. Whether anchors or aux. engines, our personal experiences are real.... but never quite the same experiences as other sailors.

i.e. everyone is correct, to some degree.
:)
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
When well intentioned folk cite their personal knowledge and personal education to attempt to get others to agree with them, I am briefly transported back to my ancient college days and the story of the blind men and the elephant.
Many citations of this on the 'net, and here is just one:

Thing is, we ALL know something, but it's doubtful that any of us knows everything. Whether anchors or aux. engines, our personal experiences are real.... but never quite the same experiences as other sailors.

i.e. everyone is correct, to some degree.
:)
Thank you !
 
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