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Concerning Electric

September 14, 2021 in Uncategorized


The last two blogs have covered the topic of converting a Dispro from its gasoline engine to electric. Owner Tom Wood, who has a second Dispro as well, a 1918 Port Carling boat, prefers his electric Dispro to the gasoline one. It is much quieter, no need to haul gas tanks around and the performance is on par. The batteries easily charge overnight and will last as long as he needs. So all in all, it was a successful conversion.

But what about replacing a gasoline outboard with an electric outboard? Currently, there are very few convincing options. A German company, Torqueedo, makes electric outboards in different powers, nearly capable of replacing powerful gasoline versions, but the batteries these things require would sink the boat. Further, the costs rapidly climb.

E-propulsion is another company that makes electric outboards and their latest versions are gear free, nearly silent motors. This company is based in China.  Again the battery costs push the total package for a small outboard to upwards of $10,000. Accessories, shipping, duties, and currency conversions are partly to blame.

I have a 1940s Peterborough cedar strip outboard and I am hoping to get its 5HP Johnson Sea Horse running. It needs spark plugs and winding spring. But in the meantime, after learning about the Dispro conversion to electric, I have been investigating options for small boats. When costs such as fuel, oil, maintenance as well as the fumes, water pollution and general mess of a gasoline engine are factored in, do these compensate for the high upfront costs of going electric; or should I wait, hoping prices will come down soon?

By Tim Du Vernet

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