Diesel outboards remain a bit of an enigma in the leisure boating industry, attracting more and more interest even as engine builders focus almost entirely on the commercial market. Cox Powertrain sees opportunities for its CXO300 in the offshore fishing sector. Originally envisioned as products with low operating costs and enhanced durability for industrial, institutional and government buyers, diesel outboards continue to attract interest from elements of the leisure marine sector in Europe and in North America – albeit for very different reasons.
As if outboard engine manufacturers don’t already have enough on their plate with lingering supply chain challenges and production backlogs related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued a new proposal calling for substantial cuts to THC and NOx emissions from outboard engines.
The market for portable gasoline/petrol-powered outboards has always been a picture of consistency for engine manufacturers, a segment seemingly impervious to market fluctuations through good times, bad times, and even a global financial meltdown. Not even a worldwide pandemic has managed to shake it, with most engine manufacturers reporting continued strong sales in different markets around the world. Only at the lowest-power end of the range is the portable sector beginning to show erosion – and that coming not from market slowdown, but growing competition from electric motors.
Ongoing developments in the automotive sector have produced a whole tranche of new and more powerful electric motors, most of which can be adapted to a marine environment. They can also be easily upgraded within the same system if more power is needed, or as larger battery packs become affordable. Trend 1 – More powerful motors. “Many of us wish our old petrol 40hp outboard still ran as great as it did on the day it was new, like electric does,” said Stealth Electric Outboards’ Scott Masterson. “Electric motors are rated in thousands of hours of operation, not hundreds, so resale for electric outboards is excellent and well sought after. As batteries become lighter, more powerful and affordable, this industry will explode. The demand for ever more power will increase. Being responsive and able to turn-around new products to meet a changing market will be more important to a company’s survival. Stealth Electric Outboards is committed to meeting those challenges as they arise. As such, we are now working on a 75hp model.”
Coming off a very successful crowdfunding campaign, an expanded DeepSpeed development team is working on a high power 500 kiloWatt electric hydrojet motor designed for work boats and vessels that sail hundreds of hours a year. The company’s December funding campaign raised €2.9 million (3.5M US$) in 17 days – easily blowing past the target of 2 million Euros. Deepspeed is now under the umbrella of a broader company (Sealence), and with the hiring of 5 new design engineers and a strategist in international finance has announced a new focus on higher power motors for luxury yachts and large commercial boats.
Australian workboat builder BtB Marine has confirmed that the company’s long-range, multi-purpose security vessel Indigo is currently being equipped with state-of-the-art hydrographic survey equipment and autonomous operations technology, in preparation for service with a prime contractor for the Australian Department of Defence’s (DOD) HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program (HIPP).
BAE Systems announced it has been selected by Chartwell Marine to supply the electric hybrid power and propulsion system for a new maritime research vessel for the University of Vermont. As part of the contract, BAE Systems will supply and integrate the hybrid system, working with the vessel’s builder, Derecktor Shipyard in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Diesel Outboards, LLC, the distributor of OXE diesel outboards for the U.S. West Coast, Gulf Region, and Central U.S. along with central and western Canada, is pleased to announce an agreement with Northpoint Commercial Finance to provide floor planning for dealerships inside the Diesel Outboard network. This will provide dealerships with financing options for their on-hand inventory of OXE Marine outboard engines, which allows dealerships to maintain a robust stock of OXE outboards while also enjoying cash flow flexibility. By offering financial options to build and maintain inventory, Northpoint’s partnership with Diesel Outboards, LLC allows dealerships to better serve end-use consumers with quick access to OXE outboards.
Cox Powertrain, a British manufacturer of high-powered diesel outboard engines for the global marine industry, is pleased to announce it has raised £9m from existing shareholders, together with a £3m loan from HSBC UK Equipment Finance, to allow the company to expand and ramp up production of its CXO300 diesel outboard.
Like electric cars, electric boats are not a new idea. In the early 1900s Clara Ford preferred driving her electric car around Detroit instead of one of the noisy gasoline-powered Model Ts her husband Henry had begun making. Around the same time, posh electric launches cruised silently along the River Thames in Britain, using dockside stop-offs to top up their batteries with electricity and their bars with champagne. These days, thanks to worries about climate change, electric cars are making a comeback (in eco-minded Norway, they account for more than half of new cars sold). Now electric boats are following. A number of manufacturers are vying to become the marine equivalent of Tesla, the Californian company which builds some of the most fashionable and fastest electric cars.