Value of electric propulsion for sailboats: Comparing apples to apples
Understanding the needs and numbers is very important, and there are many misconceptions around power comparisons. The old way was HorsePower (HP) and now we are talking about kilowatts (kW). HP is a marketing number that is based on the engine’s maximum power over time. This HP number is not completely worthless as it allows engines to be compared to engines, but does not really provide meaningful information for real life use in a Marine application. For that we need to look at a power dynamometer test to see what functional work is done in the real world versus the theoretical HP number assigned to the engine.
When underway, within the range of the electric propulsion system’s battery Reserve Capacity (RC), there is no exhaust and operating noise and vibrations are a small fraction of an internal combustion engine’s collateral outputs.
This again is a full value justification for switching to electric propulsion. By making the vessel not only more pleasant but also much less impactful the enjoyment factor rises again. There is also now a whole new reason to sail. Because the hydrogeneration is a direct product of boat speed, now trimming sails and sailing well is rewarded by creating more power.
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