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Tesla Sailboat

Discussion in 'Future Cars' started by TheTalkingMule, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    OK, this isn't a future car idea per se, but this is the best forum I could think of.

    I've become interested in catamarans recently after seeing a few sweet ones down in the Caribbean. They now have sailboats with entirely electric engines for tooling about when not under sail and battery banks that also run the whole ship. When under sail, the propeller runs backwards and charges the batteries with the aid of a few solar panels.

    I'd like to see one of these major European boat manufacturers partner with Tesla to design battery packs and drivetrains for large sailing vessels. How great would that be? Tooling around the world's great ports knowing you're not burning through one drop of diesel. Maybe wk057 could take a couple totaled Model S packs and retro-fit one?

    sandy-cay-bvi-boat.png
     
  2. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    That would mean the propeller is trying to drive the boat in reverse :wink: It still runs forward, just as the wheels of an EV still turn forward when doing regen.
     
  3. BerTX

    BerTX Member

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    Part of what works well in using electric power in a monohull sailboat is that they are displacement boats, meaning that the speed of the boat is limited by factors of the hull that will not allow it to go any faster, no matter how much power (sail) is applied. When this limit is reached, the excess power can be used to charge the batteries without sacrificing performance of the boat.

    Most catamarans do not have the same hull speed limitation. Their sail power is translated into speed. Putting drag on the system by charging the batteries slows the boat, which is not usually acceptable to the cat owner in most cases -- that's part of why they own a catamaran -- speed.

    Not in any way to say that it isn't a good idea, it is. Probably most of the cats with electric auxiliary power charge when at the dock. Sure, there are times when a cruising cat would not mind charging while underway.

    Don't get me wrong, I like he idea. Cats require two motors, remember. Cats are sensitive to weight, so a lot of battery would not be desirable, but then you are replacing 2 diesels and about $200 pounds of fuel, so some leeway there.

    I don't know that the Tesla system would be necessary, since there is not really as much need for high-output batteries. Maybe Tesla would be interested in speed records, though...
     
  4. Reykjavik

    Reykjavik Member

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    I think a hybrid wind/electric boat is a great idea. Adding solar panels may not be worth it, but it is also worth looking at.
     
  5. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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  6. deckofficer

    deckofficer Member

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    #6 deckofficer, Feb 18, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  7. deckofficer

    deckofficer Member

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    It works quite well if your using a Maxprop. This prop reverses pitch on the blades when in astern. They feather for reduced drag if you went from forward to neutral when you stopped the engine, but if you go from astern to neutral the blades stay pitched for reverse (doesn't feather) and produces good energy of 300~500 watts @ 5 kt.
     
  8. jeff_adams

    jeff_adams Member

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    An electric sailboat sounds like Heaven. There is nothing like moving through water without engine noise.
     
  9. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    #9 andrewket, Feb 19, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
    otherwise known as sailing? :)
     
  10. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    Sailing is definitly the way to go rather than these giant "motor yachts" the rich folk have these days. But what about when battery and thin film solar tech really get going in 20 years? You're in the ocean, why not just roll out a 1/4 mile long thin film solar array and trail it floating behind you? That would be pretty sweet. A fully sustainable motor yacht.
     
  11. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    I have been an early adopter in this area also, taking delivery of my custom-configured electric Alerion Express 33 sailboat just two months after our Tesla Roadster, in July of 2010. I now have 1,000's of nautical miles on the boat, including quite a lot of silent motoring miles when the wind was just not there. Like terrestrial EV's, I would not own anther ICE boat again. A sailboat is meant to be nearly silent, and when the wind is not available, the stink and rattle of a diesel power train is just so 20th century.

    The power train is sourced from MasterVolt, and has a 7.5 kW AC motor, and 19 kWh of LiFePO4 batteries. While I originally had a feathering prop fitted to the boat to enable regen, it never worked very well, due to suboptimal motor controller firmware, which MasterVolt had promised to improve, but never did. So recently, I switched to a folding prop, because I race, and wanted the lowest sailing drag possible. To my surprise and delight, the folding prop's drive efficiency is so much higher (15+%) than the feathering prop, that I now have more effective range (30-40 nm) than before, plus being faster under sail in light wind.

    Here are a couple photos of my water-borne EV:

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh, I forgot to mention that last fall I also added 100W of low-profile solar panels, directly bedded into the stern decks. They do not contribute to the propulsion, but power all the onboard electronics.
     

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  12. deckofficer

    deckofficer Member

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    #12 deckofficer, Feb 19, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Very nice indeed. By chance are you on the Cruiser's Forum? I'm deckofficer there too, same avatar.
    The Advantages of Being a 100 Ton Captain - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

     
  13. tomas

    tomas Traded in 9 rep bars for M3, used to be somebody!

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    I guess there are more than 1 Alerion in the crowd! Unfortunately, mine came diesel powered, and can't make the business case to upgrade.

    ms teak.jpg
     
  14. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    Very sweet boat. I love the teak decks.
     
  15. Xenoilphobe

    Xenoilphobe Active Member

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    I want one - who sells these?
     
  16. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    I have browsed the Cruisers Forum occasionally, but am not a member. I am more oriented toward racing and daysailing than cruising. Thanks anyway!

    The Torqueedo system seems well laid out. I am familiar with their small electric outboards, but not this system. I like the rotating sail drives for regen-- best of both worlds!

    - - - Updated - - -

    It had occurred to me to try to convince Tesla to do a marine system, but they have their hands WAY too full for that now. Still, it would be great to have their superior engineering and energy density in that environment.
     
  17. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    I've seen pics of Vger's boat a few times now... Need to see it in person next time I'm on island. Maybe this August?
     
  18. the dude

    the dude Member

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    at a Q&A meeting in Norway someone asked Elon about electric boats, and Elon agreed that it was a good idea but that Tesla needed to stayed focused on cars
     
  19. deckofficer

    deckofficer Member

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    We have a thread over there with 4400 posts titled "LiFePO4 Batteries: Discussion Thread for Those Using Them as House Banks". A lot of cruisers are getting tired of the short life of 6 volt lead acid batteries and are making the switch. Most all the folks that have electric propulsion already made the switch. It appears everyone (including myself) are pleased with the life and performance. Typically we sized our LiFePO4 bank 1/2 the ahr size we had with lead. Very little voltage sag under heavy inverter loads is sure a plus, and charge acceptance is way better than lead.
     
  20. Candleflame

    Candleflame Member

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    I don't think this is feasable at all unless you are talking about small sailing vessles staying in costal waters. Don't underestimate the amount of power it costs to have Radar, fridge, freezer, computers, heating, washing machine, pumps, long range radios/phones for internet etc running (and warming water if you dont have a gas boiler). Yes you can connect an alternator to the propeller but that will generate only about 200 watts at decent sailing speed from my own experience (+some extra kw you get from solar and wind power). And in an emergency you need to have enough power to have bilge pumps constantly running. A good diesel engine is extremly reliable and there is a reason crusing yachts carry much more fuel than they really need.
     

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