Take a Closer Look at Electric Outboards
by Ted Lund
The next time you’re in Austin, Texas and you see a traditional looking paddle-wheeler winding its way around scenic Lady Bird Lake, a gas-restricted reservoir on the Colorado River in Austin, Texas, you might want to take a closer look. Things might not always be what they seem. What looks like a 100-year-old vessel from a bygone era is actually a state-of-the-art, green-boating ecotour vessel.
The Lone Star is a 75-foot, double-decker paddlewheel that takes customers of Lone Star Riverboat Cruises on a scenic tour of the reservoir’s picturesque surroundings. But it’s not powered by gas, coal or oil; it’s powered by a pair of Torqeedo 40-horsepower Deep Blue electric motors.
Capt. Mike Pearce started the tour company with an on-the-water exemption for his original diesel-powered paddle wheeler. But when the boat started aging and become too old to operate safely and efficiently, Pearce made the move to all-electric power.
His business grew thanks to a contract with the city of Austin, and the fleet grew along with it, adding a pair of 32- and 35-foot-long pontoon boats. But with a 5-horsepower restriction in place on the reservoir, he found himself often underpowered on windy days.
“We were able to get an exemption for the horsepower restriction and went from there,” says Pearce.
Choosing Torqeedo’s Deep Blue proved to be a wise investment.
“They have a lot of power compared to what I was using,” says Pearce. My captains have much more control of the boats now, and we can recharge the lithium batteries in between cruises — but we can go all day if we want to.”
Pearce’s performance has been so good, the Lone Star can take up to four one- to two-hour-long cruises a day on a single, full charge.
Deep Blue is Torqeedo’s fully integrated, electric propulsion system that brings together innovative high-voltage 33 kWh motors and single 13 kWh battery, charger and connection box. They also feature an electronic remote throttle control and an on-board computer with a touchscreen. The Deep Blue 40 has a 23- to the 37-mile range at speeds of up to 4 knots, or a range of up to 13.5 miles at full throttle.
But his biggest advantage might not be operational. Austin is known for its favorable view of eco-friendly businesses.
“My business is a concession,” said Pearce, “so every time my agreement comes up, I include that we’re all electric — even the big boat. And that definitely helps.”
Pearce also uses the eco-angle to market his narrated tours, which focus on lake’s flora and fauna. Guests are fee to enjoy the natural beauty free from the noise and fumes associated with traditional engines operating fossil fuels.
To learn more about Torqeedo’s innovative line of green boating power solutions, visit www.torqeedo.com or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.
Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com