Big changes on the horizon

Andy Adams

Sept 21, 2021

No – I’m not talking about yesterday’s elections that as I write this, is actually tomorrow. No wonder I feel confused sometimes! It’s Sunday…you see this Tuesday…we publish Monday…anyway…

Last week I spent a couple of days in Gananoque, Ontario to get out on the  X-Shore Eelex 8000 which is a Swedish-built 26-foot centre console that is all electric. We spent a couple of hours on the St. Lawrence River puttering along, running top speed, accelerating to top speed and back, watching the “fuel” or battery levels, all to learn more about how an electric boat might work for Canadian Yachting magazine readers and boaters in general.

It doesn’t take long to get used to the X-Shore Eelex 8000.

Yes – it’s very different and yet with a few minutes of familiarization, it all feels right. It doesn’t idle. It doesn’t need to. The electric motor doesn’t react until you tell it to. You can easily and very gently ease the throttle ahead, but you can kick things wide open and get ski boat acceleration if you want that.

I rarely noticed any “motor” sound, but the hull over the water does make sound, especially when you are flying along. It’s pretty fast and the boat isn’t silent although the motor is. The display showing percentage of battery left is the same as your fuel gauge. It is easy to relate to.

Patrick Hardy at BCI Marine provided me with the X-Shore Eelex 8000 and I thank him for this. It was an important and great experience.

I’ve been hoping to get a Quebec-made Vision Marine E-Motion 180 outboard to run this summer, but so far, no luck getting my hands on one. I’ll keep trying because plainly electric power is coming on fast. I’m betting that demand already far outstrips supply.

Will electric power replace Mercury, Honda, Suzuki or Yamaha gasoline engines? I’d say probably never in the foreseeable future, but electric could be a great alternative for many cottage boaters, very soon.

Virtually no engine noise, plug-in refueling at your dock or boathouse for cottage boaters and dramatically reduced service needs are all appealing points. But maybe, the biggest attraction is the idea that leading families can still enjoy most, or all of their summer boating fun without consuming any fossil fuel. That may be hugely attractive to the early adopters and environmentally committed boat owners.

I think this winter will usher in a whole new boating reality. I’m betting the big boys will soon enter the forum and we will see a major industry transition. Let’s see if I’m right.

Andy Adams – Editor

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