Here at Electrek, I’ve had the pleasure of covering some fascinating electric boat news stories. In just the past year, we’ve seen everything from high-power electric speed boats and pleasure cruisers to efficient flying electric ferries. But when it comes to the most popular electric boat news stories of the year – the ones that our readers were most interested in – the results might surprise you.
The two biggest themes in the most popular electric boat articles were “small” and “odd”. While the big flashy electric boats are interesting, it appears that the smaller models, as well as the more outlandish designs, proved to be crowd favorites.
Mercury unveils new electric outboard motors
Right at the beginning of 2023, Mercury started out the year strong by unveiling a new series of lightweight outboard motors for small watercraft. The Avator line began with the Avator 7.5e, a modest motor with just 750W of output and swappable batteries that could be carried on board like a little red fuel can of the future.
The unit was unveiled as an all-in-one propulsion package that included the motor, battery, and electronics in a self-contained system. It was designed for small watercraft that accept transom-mount outboards.
Interestingly, despite offering just one horsepower, Mercury explained that the motor performs closer to a Mercury 3.5hp FourStroke outboard with comparable speed and acceleration figures. That’s due to the higher performance possible from an electric drivetrain, even with a lower total power output.
And of course, that’s not to mention all of the other advantages, like silent operation, reduced maintenance, no exhaust fumes, and no vibrations.
Veer X13 launched as new, low-cost electric boat
As if on cue, the Avator 7.5e electric outboard motor made its near-simultaneous debut on a new small electric boat, the Veer X13.
Veer was founded as a sister company to Mercury, so it made sense to use it as a launch platform for the new electric outboard.
With seating for two on this 13-foot boat, it was designed to be a great fishing or recreational platform for boaters who wanted to explore their waterways, similar to the way a kayak can access places that larger boats can’t reach.
It was also intended to be ideal for new boaters, offering a simple package that even included a trailer in the price. The boat started at around US $11,100 for the gasoline-powered version, though you had to pony up $2,000 more for the electric model. When compared to listening to that little gas engine all day though (and paying to keep it operational), the electric version seemed like a very small premium to pay for comfort and convenience.
So the first two biggest electric boat stories of the year focused on small format e-boats and e-motors. From here though, things are about to take a weird turn.
Prepare yourself for what’s come.
I bought a $1,000 electric boat from China
This was by far our biggest electric boat story of the year, and it involved my own personal adventure of buying the cheapest five-seater fiberglass boat I could find.
I happened to find it on Alibaba, which meant I had to have it shipped halfway around the world to my parents’ home in Florida (where waterways are abundant and ever-present).
Believe it or not, the boat was actually pretty nice. Yes, the fiberglass wasn’t beautiful, and the meek motor only gave me around 2-3 knots of speed (perhaps with a slight tailwind). Oh, and the propellor was around 25% out of the water. But it worked fairly well, otherwise.
And it’s going to serve as a fun platform for modifications. I already have a much bigger motor that I bought used on Craigslist to replace the small inboard electric motor, and I plan on adding solar panels to keep it charged without needing shore power.
So stay tuned, because this particular story has just begun.
This half-submerged electric houseboat may be the best tiny home ever
Things get even weirder with this one, and they may even get wetter – at least if something goes wrong. I found this half-submerged electric houseboat online while perusing Alibaba for strange electric boats. I think this fits the bill.
I’m not sure it technically exists since the vendor is only showing off renderings, but I really hope there’s at least one of these out there somewhere… and that it’s not as the bottom of a lake.
The houseboat has a bedroom below the waterline, complete with large windows for a great 360 view. Up on the 02 deck sits the living room and kitchenette, again with a great panoramic view.
The living room seems to open up into a swim deck, but whether or not you’d actually want to go swimming might depend on your local waters. As our graphics guy decided, we seem to have an infestation of Great White sharks in the Electrek waters, so I think I’ll be keeping my shorts dry for now.
Low-cost one-seater mini electric jet boat puts big thrills in a tiny package
Just like the houseboat above, this one-seater mini electric jet boat popped up on my radar while I was looking through the Alibaba electric boat catalog.
But unlike the houseboat above, I know this one is actually in production because there are videos of it working!
The tiny little jet boat is basically the inner workings of an electric Jet Ski that are somehow mashed into the tiniest little boat hull you’ve ever seen.
That results in an awesome-looking electric jet boat with just enough room for one daredevil pilot at the yoke.
This mini electric jet boat measures just 1.8 meters (5 feet 11 inches) long, yet it packs in enough power to hit speeds of up to 48 km/h (30 mph) thanks to a 15 kW (20 hp) electric motor.
What’s coming next year?
If this year was any indication, flashy high-tech electric boats are interesting but smaller and perhaps weirder electric boats really bring out people’s fascination.
What could that mean for 2024 upcoming electric boat offerings? I guess you’ll have to keep coming back to Electrek to find out!
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