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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Update on Diesel/Electric: Nordhavn and EMotion Hybrids

Nordhavn Quietly Removes D/E Information from Website Nordhavn, a maker of heavy displacement offshore capable power boats, one of the first to offer Diesel/Electric option (made by Siemens) for this type of boat, has quietly pulled the information from their site. A reader from the "Passagemaking Under Power" Internet list offered his understanding of the situation: "PAE tends to focus on proven technologies in their boats and takes a very cautious approach to introducing new technology. It was hoped the motor manufacturer would provide a complete and proven solution, but that didn't happen, so there were some teething problems. I believe that the basic components were sound, but wiring and controls were areas where a lot of new learning was required. Two boats were built, one with full diesel electric and the other partial. The partial electric boat is being rebuilt to go back to a conventional drive system. My reading of it all is that a significantly larger engineering effort would be required to bring this to market than the business could justify. Its no fun to be on the "bleeding edge" of new technology, but I give PAE credit for taking a shot at it. But diesel engines and proven drive technology still do a pretty good job of shoving water aside. I wonder what kind of money Toyota spent to bring hybrid drive technology to market? I'm betting it was HUGE compared to the annual sales revenue of a company like PAE." A setback for greener D/E propulsion for pleasure boats. Another note... EMotion Hybrids Launches Lagoon 500 Catamaran with twin 16kW electric motors I believe this is a first for EMotion Hybrids. It will be interesting to see how well she performs. Additional: If you want to see a good technical explanation of how a Diesel/Electric system can work (specifically EMotion systems) checkout EMotion's YouTube channel for a series of informative videos. Additional x 2: checkout Mickey's in-progress research site on D/E.
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