A clean, quiet, vibration free propulsion unit for your boat.
DC Electric Drive. WHY FIT ONE?
I fit DC Electric Drives professionally, we have one on our sail boat. I hope the following post, will convince more people to fit them.
DC Electric Drive, a tough decision to make.
Fitting: I looked at a few DC Electric Drive’s for my boat. I would need the equivalent of 20hp, the standard Bukh DV20/20hp diesel engine fitted in my sail boat was no longer available, as a new unit. It would have to be a Bukh DV24/24hp. The weight of the DC Electric drive, was approximately 18kg, not including batteries and other equipment. The weight of the Bukh DV24 diesel engine is 210kg. The DC Electric drive was the best option from the start.
The cost of the DC Electric Drive, including batteries. 400amps @ 48v, or 1600amps @ 12v and controls, was almost identical to a new BUKH DV24 engine. As the cost was very close, the electric drive was still ahead.
Running: A diesel engine smokes, vibrates and is usually noisy. Electric Drives have so far proved to me, that they are quiet, smooth and don’t vibrate and are reliable.
Running costs of the Bukh DV24 are approx. 4.5ltr per hour, let’s say £4 P/H. Running cost of the DC Electric drive is from my experience so far, £0 to £0.25 per hour. Most mariners offer free electric to over-night visitors at their moorings. Another positive reason to go for the DC Electric Drive. Servicing intervals of the BUKH should be every 150 hours. The Electric Drive is 3000 hours to check the bushes, an easy job, then 7000 hours to replace the bushes. No contest!!
The Environmental Impact of a diesel engine is terrible, compared to Electric Drive and just gets better as the UK invests in wind farms and solar. On a singular basis though, diesel motors are not good for the atmosphere or the rivers, canals and sea/ocean. They can leak oil which can be and is pumped straight into the water system and belch out toxic smoke into the atmosphere. Electric Drives run clean, full stop!!
Refuelling: This was a major contributor to my decision. My wife and I are hoping to start on a circumnavigation of the globe, there’s no solid information on this subject. I thought long and hard about it and still couldn’t come to an absolute decision.
Fact though, as we’ve now made short trips around Scotland and North West England. I now know, the Electric Drive has plenty of power and has no problem driving in strong tidal currents. Planning is essential, as it is with a diesel engine. Long trips still concerned me.
Ocean crossings are 1,000’s of miles, not short journeys. Most diesel-powered sail boats carry roughly 20 Gallons of fuel in their tanks. They can carry more in extra cans but a tank full would add up-to 20-30 hours at say 5 knots at the most, 100 to 150 miles. Our DC Electric drive will drive for up to 8 hours, if not flat-out.
If you can imagine: 1,000’s of miles to cross an Ocean and just being able to motor at 5 knots, for 150 miles on diesel. Against the 8 hours at say 4 knots, 32 miles on electric. It finally came to me, a trip across the Atlantic, can take 30-40 days on a boat like ours. We have solar, wind and the sea to re-charge our batteries. Which is, clean environmentally friendly fuel, to drive our boat. If you run out of diesel there are no fuel stations. It’s a positive reason to fit an Electric Drive.
No matter how you think about it, circumnavigating the globe is not a risk-free trip. After lots of consideration, I’m now fitting an emergency generator on the boat. It should cover us for absolute emergencies.
There will be more on this subject to come. If you have any questions and want answers please ask through my contact page. If you find this post interesting, please like, follow and share with your friends.