Summer ends on Thursday, but from next year, holidaymakers who are lucky enough to enjoy a body of water during the summer months will be able to enjoy a more peaceful and, above all, more eco-friendly environment. The Vision Marine Technologies group of Boisbriand, which developed the E-Motion, a 180 horsepower electric motor for outboard boats, is actively preparing the marketing of its prototype and has just signed an agreement to electrify the boats of the Beneteau group.
Posted at 6:00 a.m.
Alexandre Mongeon and his partner Patrick Bobby have been working since 2015 on the manufacture of a completely electric pleasure boat.
In 2012, the two partners bought the company Riopel Marine, from Saint-Eustache, which in 1995 had started manufacturing small boats powered by two-speed electric motors, with a range of 15 hours at a cruising speed of 10 km/h.
“The company ceased operations two years ago. We bought out the business, dusted off the molds and started production again under the name Canadian Electric Boats.
“From 2013 to 2020, we doubled the company’s turnover every year, but in 2015, we decided to develop our own electric propulsion technology with 180-horsepower outboard motors”, explains Alexandre Mongeon in the small 15 to 22 foot boat assembly plant in Boisbriand.
To finance this project, the two partners plan to carry out public financing on the NASDAQ platform in 2018. It was not until November 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, that the group managed to list on the Stock Exchange. electronics by realizing a financing of 27 million US.
“In 2019, we managed to propel a first boat with a BMW battery to 31 mph. In 2021, with our chief technology officer, Xavier Montagne, we did another test at 49 mph [80 km/h] “, specifies the CEO.
This summer in Ozark, Missouri, Vision Marine Technologies set a world record by electrically propelling a racing boat equipped with two 180 horsepower E-Motion motors to a speed of 104 mph (167 km/h). ).
A market to conquer
Vision Marine Technologies designed and developed the components of the E-Motion engines and partnered with strategic suppliers to have them manufactured, including a 700-volt lithium battery, a power station with potentiometer and a charging system.
Canadian automotive supplier Linamar assembles E-Motion boat engines at its plant in Guelph, Ontario, with an industrial manufacturing capacity of 18,000 units.
“We have signed agreements with three major boat manufacturers, including Limestone and, most recently this summer, Beneteau, which ensure a global presence. The first engines will be delivered in December and we plan to install between 300 and 1000 for the year 2023. We could deliver up to 7000 of our systems in 2025”, anticipates the CEO.
Vision Marine Technologies is integrating the system in Boisbriand on a first model and then dispatching a team to the manufacturer to demonstrate its installation. Subsequently, the manufacturer will order its engines directly from Linamar.
We have stopped producing high-powered boats because we prefer to sell our technology to major manufacturers without competing with them. We have no industrial ambitions, we don’t want to do like Lion or Taïga and have to bear far too large investments.
In addition to being much less noisy and polluting than thermal engines, E-Motion engines, although 40% more expensive to acquire than gasoline engines, are much more economical to operate.
It can cost several hundred dollars for a day on a body of water for a boater powered by a heat engine. The same day will cost less than $10 for a boat pushed by an E-Motion electric motor.
“We installed the battery charge inside the boat. Boaters do not need to use charging stations. They plug into their marina with a common outlet. The additional cost of the electric motor is absorbed after 175 hours of use”, insists Alexandre Mongeon.
“We chose to develop a 180 horsepower engine because that is the average horsepower of the 330,000 outboard motors that were sold in the United States in 2020. The industry expects it will sell 1.4 million outboard motors in 2025 because boaters no longer want to have bilge motors that eat up useful space and are noisier”, underlines the CEO.
Although Vision Marine Technologies has undertaken to specialize in the marketing of high-performance electric motors, the company continues to manufacture and rent small electric boats with two-force motors.
“We have a rental site in Newport, California, with 30 of our electric boats. In 2022, this activity generated revenues of US$4.5 million, which covers the company’s fixed costs. We are going to open another rental center in Florida in 2023. Electric boats are really popular,” notes the CEO of Vision Marine Technologies with delight.