At one end of the spectrum the trend continues for ever more powerful outboard motors. At the other end of the spectrum there are futuristic, low horsepower electric outboard motors.
Torqeedo, a German company, is the first to use an electronically commutated, permanent magnet excited external rotor motor in an outboard. Its Torqeedo Travel 801 generates the equivalent horsepower of a 2-horse gas outboard motor. In other words, what we have here is a state of the art electric outboard.
A real eyebrow raiser, propeller pitch and camber are variable, an innovative use of technology that squeezes every last drop of thrust out of an amp's worth of electricity. Torqeedo's smallest outboard is a veritable ultra light, tipping the scales at 25 pounds. It also folds, making it truly portable. The Lithium Manganese battery (LIMA cell) is also lightweight, weighing just six-pounds, light enough so it can easily be removed for overnight charging. Torqeedo's environmentally-friendly Travel 801 offers tantalizing possibilities for tenders and other small boats.
Another model is the Cruise 4.0 R intended for boats on green lakes, pontoon boats, sailboats and catamarans. The electric outboard motor draws current from a 48 Volt lead-gel, AGM battery bank, or two high-performance lithium manganese batteries. In recent testing the Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R pushed a 24-foot pontoon boat with seven people aboard at a speed of 6.1 mph.
Its integrated board computer combines information from the motor, batteries and the motor's GPS receiver to show how much battery power and range remains. The information displays on the remote throttle control, which also shows current speed, speed over ground and current power consumption in watts. Torqeedo's Cruise 4.0 R's suggested retail price is $3,699. Finally, by now you've probably guessed the obvious, that the name Torqeedo is a play on words, juxtaposing torque and torpedo.