The maritime industry has traditionally viewed electric boats as impractical. This is due mainly to concerns that an electric motor would not be able to supply the increased amount of power needed to move a boat versus a car as well as fears that electric boats would not have the range to cover long distances. However, these attitudes are beginning to change with improvements in lithium ion battery technology along with an increased focus on sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels.
Yamaha recently launched a trial of its new HARMO system on the Otaru Canal in Hokkaido, Japan. HARMO integrates a twin electric boat motor with a next generation steering control system. Yamaha hopes to bring the HARMO system to the European market which is affected by increasing restrictions on the use of fossil fuel powered crafts on inland waterways. A Seattle based startup Zin Boats is also looking to prove that electric boats can be a practical and sustainable alternative to traditional boats. The Z2T and Z2R models use an all carbon fiber construction making them half the weight of a comparable craft while the BMW batteries offer a fast recharge and an 100 mile average range.
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