Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts

I have been trying to get a price on the Bellmann (Mastervolt) electric engines in the USA, as we will be there in mid january, and we could buy two and bring them back to Australia.  We are "sailing" from New York to Sydney on the Queen Mary.  The price in OZ is ridiculous, about double the manufacturers price in Holland.  If anyone could help by finding a price in the USA for the 10KW model (fixed & steerable) we would really appreciate it.  The QM calls in at Fort Lauderdale where we could pick up the motors.  Cunard is quite happy for us to ship them back to Oz in our cabin!!!!
Best regards,
John & Kat

Views: 774

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi John and Kat,
I will look around for the price for you but I have heard from many folks who were sorry they ever got involved with electric motors. Here we are on Peace and today we were just saying how very pleased we are with the two 20 horse Yamaha outboards we have. Easy breezy and reliable. We do 8 knots in a calm, the boat manouvers well even in wind against tide, they are quiet, the electric tilt is lovely, they moderately priced, and easily installed. They are reasonable to work on and can be removed and taken for more advanced work if needed. We were just saying how easy this trip down the US east coast is this year and we think it is because the boat is getting so civilized and well equipped and the new engines are a big part of that.
While we hope you will not get electric engines, I will get you that price. UGH! Ann and Nev
Hi A & N
i finally managed to ring Mastervolt in Florida and they gave me a price for the motors. I hear your advice re electric motors but we believe they are the transport of the future (Kat believes long distance future but future all the same). There are also reports out there of people who love their electric motors but no decision has been set in stone - we are still exploring options. thanks for your input and the offer to track down the price. Now if you wanted to pick them up and bring them to australia on Peace IV, hence saving us import duty we'll offer you a glass of red wine (or 10) when you get here. J&K
Thanks for that Chuck, Some friends of mine in Brisbane have had bad experiences with RE-power & Kevin's motors. Bellmann (Mastervolt) are made in Holland, apparently of a high standard, and they have sold over a 1000 units world wide. They are in current use on small ferries and water taxis around the world. Because of their cost however (US$25,000 for two), I am keeping my options open re petrol (which I intensely dislike in the marine environment), but i may have to go that way if nothing better arrives in the next 8 months.
I would only need 2 Lithium batteries (48v/180ah) - 32kg each, plus 6 solar panels (800 watts) and 2 D400 wind generators. No genset or petrol needed. It is purely the cost that is holding me back at the moment.
2 batteries that size would run 2x10kW motors for about 10 minutes and your solar/wind setup would take days to recharge.

one 48v/180ah lithium battery currently sells for US$14,000 and weighs about 90-100 kg

You're dreaming

John& Kat Wilkie said:
I would only need 2 Lithium batteries (48v/180ah) - 32kg each, plus 6 solar panels (800 watts) and 2 D400 wind generators. No genset or petrol needed. It is purely the cost that is holding me back at the moment.
Thankfully I can ignore comments like this. Not only are your facts totally wrong, your response is rude & ignorant, unlike others who encourage new ideas and are pleasant to chat with and enjoy sharing ideas. We all have different ideas on what works for us. Maybe you missed it, but dreaming is where this sailing thing all started for most of us. Without dreams, we are lost.
simple math says two 10 kw motors draw 20,000 watts for an hour at full speed. two batteries 48v 180 AH=14680 watts so you can get about i hour. Probably less. my 180 watt panel will deliver about5-6 amps an hr for about 8 hrs. so say you get 24 amps an hr for 8 hrs that's 198 amps at 12 volts so about 50 amp at 48v which is 2400 watts so you can run your motors for about an hr and 20 minutes from your solar panels on a sunny day. That's maybe ten miles? Probably less. your batteries will power all of your other electrical needs as well. Of course you may star off with full batteries and the sun may shine all day and this will double your range and leave you with no battery reserve. And you say you will have wind mills as well so this will contribute but if you need to motor on a windless overcast day or even at night you will not have much range. All of this at a very high cost both in initial outlay and ongoing maintenance. Sure you could double your battery bank and have a larger range. This will no work well when you use canals a rivers and must motor for extended distances. So if you only use the motors once a week for an hr you will be fine with this set-up. Same capability with two 9.9s you will use two gallons of fuel and the whole deal will cost you about $10,000. The electric set-up will cost considerably more and will have IMO higher long term maintenance costs. I am a long time Mother Earth News reader and lived in a house bus in the 80's that had solar and wind electrical but still an IC motor to move. I was a solar installer for ten years and have installed hundreds of water and pool and space heating systems. My first race boat was called Solar Profit because I was always preaching to my friends about solar and solar bought the boat. I am a solar fan. But the reality is that there are situations where it is appropriate and some where it's not. But you are free to make the choices that you wish and I for one hope you will share your experience with us if you go electric.
John & Kat,

Having been in the marine electrical business for years, installed electric drive systems (including hybrids), a solar/wind off-grid and boat technician, and having been a Mastervolt Distributor, I can honestly say that your plans (as presented) are beyond reality.

Besides ultimate costs, everyone always forgets to account for electrical loss when charging and discharging. Putting your faith in the brochure figures will always lead to heartache. All brochure (manufacturer) figures are given for very specific circumstances which one may achieve for a few hours a couple of times per year. The transfer of power always comes with losses that usually require more charging capacity that one expects, and much larger power reserve banks than one would expect. Add to this the aspect overall weight of of a system in a lightweight catamaran, and your potential problems can escalate.

From real world experience, you can expect a minimum of 20% lower performance than you expect, and 30% higher cost by the time the kinks are worked out. I spent the better part of 2009 trying to work a diesel electric hybrid for a Tiki 38, and was completely unable to find a viable solution that either did not cost more than the boat or was lightweight, or had sufficient run time, and I am experienced at it with lots of industry contacts.

I am not saying not to go for your electric dreams (I have them too), but to triple check your boating requirements as well as your numbers.

At my eyes, the big advantage of a good  electric   propulsion system is to have a greater autonomy. Sure the price is higher but if you keep your system in good health during 30 years it's not so high comparing the use of 3 or 4  pair of outboards along the same time.

And sure, year after year the price of the fuel will be more and more expensive. My choice has been to put a parallel hybrid propulsion system in each hull for a better reliability. The electric engines will be used almost all the time when arriving and departure of crowded  anchorages and the diesel engines will be used at the minimum only when necessary. So It'll be possible to stay a long time in isolated areas or to stay on high sea only for the pleasure without to be worry with the need of fuel .

When cruising I think to have enough electric energy to use electricity for the kitchen avoiding to burn gaz or fuel. In bad weather it could be possible to slow the boat in generating electricity with one propeller and in running slowly backward the other propeller. At anchor if there is a problem with the anchor, the electric motors are able to be used immediately.

Present time the electricity storage is the problem,  but a new generation of cheapper batteries than the lithium ions are coming soon on the market in which the lead will be replaced by foam of carbon. These batteries are lighter with a longer life time.

I'll inform you of my experiences with a such system in a few months after her launching.

John & Kat, don't be discouraged by all these negative point of views if you want to be more independent from the fuel and its abusive taxes and to don't waste a so precious liquid from the earth. Until today all has been done to discourage the electric boats and  cars in order to keep a monopole on the energy and to get a huge mount of taxes.


I owe you an appology for discouraging your dream of having a non petroleum power source for your boat.  It is a lovely dream and I must agree they are working on it.  I just am so over eager to see you out here with us on the ocean... and I must also admit I love our outboards which work for us but are not needed very often.  Keep dreaming because the dreams are good and if you keep at it, they will come true.  Ann and Nev


Many thanks for you're support, we really appreciate any advice, thoughts and ideas on this system.  We will keep a lookout for these new batteries you mention.  They sound very promising.

Best regards,

John & Kat

Ann & Nev,

No apology is necessary.   We realise your enthusiasm with your system, and respect your choices.  It works for you and that is all that is needed. And we know you respect our journey.  It just disappoints me when some people try and discredit your dream and ideas, without any respect for individual dreams . As I said previously, just plain rude & ignorant.  I can just imagine him telling Wilbur & Orville Wright that their machine would never get off the ground and would amount to nothing.   Fortunately for us all, they ignored the doomsayers as well.


John & Kat

Reply to Discussion


© 2024   Created by Budget Boater.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service