OC-REgister

Boat owners making the switch to electric

By Taylor Hill, Orange County Register

Aboard Laguna Beach resident Lydie Denier’s 36-foot Hunter sailboat, the silence is noticeable.

Still within the confines of Newport Harbor, Denier hasn’t raised the sails and the motor is still running, but the drone of a diesel-powered engine typical of cruising sailboats is absent.

“We like to try new things; we have an electric car and electric bikes, so it made sense for us to get an electric-powered boat,” Denier said.

Denier and her husband, Michael Jakobsen, are some of the most recent converts to electric propulsion in the boating world, taking the concept made famous by the small Duffy electric boats that populate harbors across the nation, and bulking up the power to propel a 36-foot, 7-ton sailboat.

And to handle the installation, the couple chose Elco Motors, who have been powering boats electrically since the company began ferrying passengers in 1892 at the Chicago World’s Fair.

After years of making powerboats, the company has revived its electric roots, creating a line of electric motors in the 6- to 100-horsepower range, capable of powering boats from 18-foot to 75-foot sailboats at around 6 to 8 knots (7 to 9.2 mph).

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OC Register Boat owners making the switch to electric motors: PUBLISHED_5.27.2014