Propulsion preview: by Trade Only

Alternative energy

Elco Motor Yachts began offering electric outboard motors last year, debuting 5-, 7- and 9.9-hp models. The company expects to unveil two more outboards in the 15- to 25-hp range in 2015. The motors should appeal to boaters on lakes that prohibit combustion motors and to saltwater sailors, the company says.

Elco also came out with an inboard propulsion package with hybrid diesel/electric technology. The system, which uses a 20-hp Elco electric motor and a 425-hp Cummins diesel, was on display — installed in a Beneteau Swift Trawler 34 — for the first time at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference last fall. The boat can reach a top speed of 20 knots under diesel power and can cruise at 5 to 6 knots using only electric power. Powered by a 12-unit AGM battery bank, the electric motor can run as long as three hours before recharging.

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