We went to Norway to tell you how the world’s most powerful electric outboards are created (and why)

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Three days between Oslo and Florø, Norway, where electric is becoming normality. What about us in the Mediterranean?

When we talk about electric propulsion in Italy, the discussion ends up, almost always, revolving around a few pivotal elements that are currently insurmountable. On everything is price and autonomy, but also the sustainability of the supply chain and the discourse of infrastructure. Each region of the world, accomplices of domestic resources, experiences this transformation in its own way, but in cars it certainly seems that a new “full-electric” normal is increasingly imminent. In boating, however, we experience the usual canonical 10-year (at least) delay.

Evoy

The question, let’s face it, is not to be enthusiastic or unenthusiastic about electric, but to enter into the view that the countdown to fossil fuels (also called nonrenewables) has started and that, as of now, battery electric is the most feasible and studied of the mobility technologies. Let’s take a closer look at how a pioneering marine team envisions the tomorrow of propulsion on water. To do so, I went to Evoy’s headquarters in Florø, Norway, where this Norwegian start-up founded about four years ago aims to be a major player in the process, designing and building electric marine thrusters for mid- to high-end boats. They range from the 90 Kw (about 120 continuous horsepower) Breeze outboard to the 300 kW (about 400 horsepower) Hurricane inboard. In five years of progress Evoy has made some by building an international team with a total of about 40 people.

The latest to debut is the 300-horsepower Storm outboard. We had tested it as a preview at the Cannes Boat Show 2022 when it was still a prototype even from the looks of it. Now this engine is instead ready to make its debut.

Evoy Storm 300+hp with the new design

“It’s a good time for the marine market,” Leif Stavøstrand, CEO and founder of Evoy And here, too, electric is beginning to interest. Today you don’t have to explain why it makes sense like you did five or six years ago, people know that’s the direction.”

Recreational boats have a lower impact than ships in the overall tally of emissions from the marine sector, but the time is approaching for this sector to put the thermal aside as well.

“There are hundreds of studies comparing diesel and electric,” Stavøstrand further explains. in the auto industry, studies done about different countries and situations. In Norway, 98 percent of energy comes from renewables, but most of these studies say that even in countries like Italy or other southern European nations, the environmental impact of an electric car is lower. To get to zero maybe you need five or ten years of use while in Norway it may be 1 or 2 and so it goes quite fast.”

Leif Stavøstrand, CEO and founder of Evoy
Leif Stavøstrand, CEO and founder of Evoy

The Norwegian company, for its part, has a clear position in the market.

“To date we have sold in 11 different countries,” says Stavøstrand. – and by next year, production capacity will be in the triple digits. Our current focus is commercial, from fishfarmer to rentals, but we already have some clients in leisure. The recent partnership with Axopar has made me very happy because they are a leading company in the recreational sector, and in a few years they expect to have 5 percent full-electric production. Considering that, as of now, they produce about 2,000 boats a year we are already talking about a hundred units. These are not huge numbers, of course, but they are a good starting point and tell us that other sites are likely to follow. We, meanwhile, have active contacts with more than 200 construction sites around the world.”

Electric engines

Of the fleet with Evoy engines, I had the opportunity to test as many as three models: the Hydrolift E-22 with the 120hp outboard, the Goldfish X9 with the 400hp Hurricane, and the Axopar 22 with the 300hp prototype. In terms of ride, maneuverability and torque, nothing makes one regret a heat engine. The precision of the throttle, the exaggerated torque of a hull like the X9 that spins from zero to forty knots in a matter of seconds in complete silence are pure excitement, as is the hissing of the air at nearly sixty knots. Sure, it lasts for a short time, for now, but at sea there are not so many who sail at 50 knots for hours on end.

carlmagnus_credit@Photoevent

“For our engines we use ,” explains Marius Dyrseth, CTO of Evoy. permanent magnet technology with inverters like cars do, but the torque in our case is even higher because of the propellers. Our main partner at the moment for batteries is Kreisel. We put the components together and develop the software. At the level of electronics, to have the functionality we need, it is more convenient and practical to do it in-house. Going electric offers many opportunities. They are quiet, odorless, and most importantly, integrated. We collect an incredible amount of data that allows us to understand if we are using the right propellers, how to further optimize a hull, and this allows us to constantly improve. When there are problems, on the other hand, we can also intervene remotely, diagnosing and often solving the problems in front of us. With electric everything is much more accurate. Our systems are connected 24/7 and we don’t get many calls, even though we have some of our customers who use the boat for hundreds of hours a year.”

What I have realized by browsing through it a bit is that of advantages in this type of propulsion actually there are. Do they win or not with respect to the cons?

Evoy Outboard HydroliftE22 - Breeze + 120hp Credit_Solfure_and_HelleFrogner
EvoyOutboard HydroliftE22 – Breeze + 120hp Credit_Solfure_and_HelleFrogner

“As of now we have three main limitations,” Stavøstrand replied to me. which are price, autonomy and trust. On the first I say we are a business and we still have to be economically sustainable. Autonomy is then a barrier because it is not good for everyone, but for most actually it could. On average, the recreational boat sails fairly little and is used for short distances, such as going swimming and returning. In this sense, the yards are doing a lot of work on the hulls to improve fuel efficiency, and slowly the batteries are also improving, year by year. Last point, we are young and need to build confidence. Show that we are good and we work, but also that we have sustainable partners in the supply chain. We are not perfect today, there is a lot of room for improvement, but we need to focus on that, and it also applies to our partners. The advantages, having said that, are clear: It is a very good thing for us to arrive about ten years after the electrics.

Axopar and Evoy
Axopar and Evoy

I got my first electric car in 2016, and except for the range, everything else is better. No odor, less maintenance, and lots of torque. Car manufacturers now focus less on having bigger batteries and more on having lighter batteries that recharge quickly. It is interesting to try to see where we will be in 10 or 20 years. The question is no longer whether it will happen, but how soon. Now I think of electric cars that are going very fast. It used not to be like this, even just six years ago in 2016 it seemed to take much longer. In the U.S., more than 5% of cars sold in Q3 of 2022 are 100% electric. There is a tipping point that I think is also near because when you buy a valuable asset that can last even 10 or 20 years and you spend a lot of money, at some point, in a transition phase, you also start to think about what your car will be worth, for example, in 6-7 years. When will it become obsolete? It will be the same with the boat. The challenge is to figure out how long it will take and how depending on the regions.”

Evoy BREEZE 120 hp

“Small boat engines,” Stavøstrand explains, “have great volume, and it is a market we keep an eye on. We focus, however, onhigh-voltage, high-output for a very simple reason. Making a 48-volt motor is quite simple, so the barrier to entry is low and there are already plenty of players.”

Evoy Breeze
Evoy Breeze

The 120 hp (continuous and 185 hp peak) meanwhile has garnered a lot of interest and was created for small boats that go fast, but also for displacement boats to go slow. With the 120-horsepower inboard, then, there is also in the target market for larger sailboats, for example. System-wise, Evoy uses NMC lithium batteries like most cars because they are the right compromise to date between price, capacity, safety, and power. Where do they go at the end of their lives? As with automotive, there are companies that provide services for reuse, for example, as stationary batteries, or provide recycling, which in this case is about 80 percent possible.

In Norway the transition is at a much more advanced state than we are starting with the fact that there more than 98 percent of national energy comes from renewable sources. This awareness combined with the presence of strong government incentives has meant that today most new cars registered are 100% electric. The infrastructure follows hand in hand, and one only has to take a walk around Oslo to see that the system, in this context, works. It should be mentioned that the country’s total population is about half (5 million) that of a region like Lombardy. So we are talking about a peculiar scenario, but one that shows us that an electric world is possible. Will the boats follow suit?

Gregorio Ferrari

Article originally appeared in
Motor Boats No. 29


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