“Our experience with the motor has been flawless, and we’re well into our second season.“
Deep Portage is a net-zero learning center located in north central Minnesota, and we run summer camps for kids and during the school year, we run educational programs for school children. We’ll have 150 schools visit here this year.
We’re a conservation reserve, an environmental learning center. When I was looking at motors for the 18-foot Alaskan Lund we have here at the camp, I talked to one of your sales folks, and I asked him, “Who buys your motors?”
And he said to me “Anyone who cares about clean water and the environment.” I was sold.
One of our main interests is solar, so the way we have it set up we don’t have to charge it on AC current. We have a boat-lift, and the top of our boat-lift instead of having a canopy we have solar panels mounted up there and a charge controller mounted underneath, and there is a wire that comes down and we plug in the four AGM batteries and charge them using the sun.
Our experience with the motor has been flawless, and we’re well into our second season. We’ve got the big 165 amp hour AGM batteries on the boat, so we’ve got plenty of power. We’re on an 850-acre lake called Big Deep Lake. We can go from one end of the lake to the other without any difficulty. Our battery pack is all we need. It’s ideal. We can put up to seven people in the boat, so an operator and six kids works great.
We mainly use the boat with the kids, we do a lot of fishing and we do some other programming at camp. But we had a lobbyist from the Twin Cities that came up and she had all kinds of different things on her mind, and we asked her if she’d like to go for a ride in the solar boat, which is always fun to say. And, with the electric motor you can have a nice conversation. And we almost had a solar-powered meeting. But 99 percent of the time we’re taking the kids out and they’re fishing and doing shoreline management. And we like to show them what the future is.
I think the kids find it interesting because we portray it in a way that this is sustainable transportation, and we show them the whole setup and the solar panels on the lift station, and we show them that this is a self-contained situation, with enough sun and proper planning we can cruise all day off the power of the sun. We’ve been running this boat for almost two summers now and every mile and minute that we’re one the water is brought to you by the sun.
We’re absolutely glad that we went electric. I test drove another electric-propulsion setup, and that operated nicely as well, but the overall price tag was too much. It’s nice to be able to take people out and tell them that the boat is a $12K investment.
It’s also nice to be able to talk to folks about the reality of the engines. It seems like there is solar powered and electrically driven everything right now. It’s that long view, seventh generation thinking. But it’s the future, that’s for sure.