Electric boat technology began over a hundred years ago. ELCO is one of the most well-known electric boat companies producing launches and power boats to over 100 feet long.
Vintage Elco Launch
Gas-powered boats took over the recreational market in the middle of the 20th century. With concerns about global warming and improvements in electric generation and storage, the selection of electric boats is greater than ever.
I would categorize electric boats as Fishing/Personal, Pontoon/Deck, Launch/Day boat, Houseboat and Other.
Fishing/Personal electric boats are really an outgrowth of electric trolling motors being used as the main power source. The boats are 6′-12′ long, 4′-6′ wide and hold 1-4 persons. Some are modified “pedal boats” with the pedals removed.
Electric "Pedal-style" Boat
Pontoon/Deckboats are larger, about 8′-15′ long and hold as many as 8 persons. Some use trolling motors while others have the electric motor installed inboard.
Launch/Day Boats use a variety of hull types, from flat bottom to modified V-hulls, and are usually designed from the ground up with electric motor(s). Launches were the original electric boat design over a hundred years ago. Using the same basic hull but reconfiguring the deck allows the look of a more modern runabout.
Houseboats, being relatively large, usually rely on an alternate power source.
Other designs include powerboats built for speed, combustion engine boats modified to use electric motors, sightseeing boats and water taxis.
Electric Water Taxi
Most of the boats have top speeds between 6 and 10MPH and will provide power for 6-8 hours before requiring a charge. Hybrids include gas/diesel generators, solar cells and sails as alternative power sources.
My favorite category is the Launch/Day boats because my favorite boating activity is slow cruising, enjoying the sights with friends and a drink. Modern launches have evolved to cater to just this type of boater. They include tables for refreshments, canopy for shade, even a head for more convenience. Duffy Boats of Newport Beach, CA, seems to be the most popular of the launch style of electric boats. Their boats are comfortably design with the cruise party in mind, so, unfortunately for MaraMAPS, wouldn’t benefit from my custom boat tables. Aequus Boats, a French company, designed a V-hull similar to American downeast lobster boats, with solar cells on the roof and even a cabin. Edison Marine builds mahogany runabouts similar to early 20th century Chris-Crafts.
There are electric boats available in styles to meet most preferences as long as the propulsion capabilities suits the expected use.
Aequus Electric Day Boat
Edison Mahogany Electric Runabout