The outboard electric motor between high performance and a growing market

In the world of pleasure boating - and especially among owners of small and medium-sized boats - we are witnessing the progressive affirmation of the electric outboard motor as a valid alternative, in many cases to be preferred, to the traditional petrol engine. The electric outboard motor market is developing, di conseguenza, a varied and expanding offer, counting among the manufacturing companies many world-renowned motor manufacturers.

In general, these are ideal engines for tenders, medium sized boats – basically up to ten meters – sailing boats, that show their strengths when used in contexts where the silence and an ecological approach, as well as good efficiency in terms of performance.

The advantages of the outboard electric motor

The comfort in using an outboard electric motor is particularly evident in his lightness and manageability; a relatively low weight is combined with the ability of the motor to operate in various positions in a fluid manner, to be moved easily in relation to the needs of the moment. A very interesting aspect is, indeed, the possibility of the engine be raised fully, allowing the vessel to go into areas of shallow depth without touching the bottom with the foot.

The value aspects related to comfort are combined with those related to ecological matrix, factor that for those who are passionate about boating, and therefore loves the contact with nature, it cannot fail to be of great importance. The outboard electric motor does not contribute to’water pollution, not releasing exhaust gases and not running the risk of fuel or oil leaks.

Respect for nature also passes through’very high silence of the outboard electric motor that does not disturb neither people on land nor underwater fauna; presenting itself as ideal for fishing enthusiasts and professionals. The absence of pollution risk, Furthermore, ensures that boats equipped with an outboard electric motor are allowed the free access to many protected areas in which, in the case of heat engines, bans are in force to protect the environment.

In terms of time and cost savings, finally, the very simple operation of this type of engine means that the items related to maintenance are eliminated, but - above all - the gain in economic terms can be seen in the electricity supply, much less expensive than fossil fuels. The cost of an outboard electric motor (generally higher than a traditional engine of equal performance) it amortizes easily, especially in cases where the use of the boat is frequent and prolonged.

The autonomy of the outboard electric motor

One of the most discussed issues in the comparison between thermal and electric outboard motor is the question of’autonomy connected to the presence of the battery. As a rule, a more than satisfactory autonomy - to be evaluated in relation to the speed and time in which you navigate - is guaranteed by lithium batteries, much lighter and with performance of duration and charge superior to those gels. One of the strengths of the lithium battery is the possibility of being downloaded at 100% of its capacity e, Furthermore, a certain speed in giving the engine the intensity it needs.

Overall this is a light battery, compact, with excellent performance, but there is the possibility of increase autonomy in various ways: by connecting to the on-board electrical network, where possible, connecting the battery to a solar panel to ensure that it recharges while the engine is running and - clearly - providing a spare battery. These are good solutions, especially in those cases in which you want to navigate in less traveled areas, where fuel supply can be difficult. Where an external battery is required, finally, very good performance can be achieved with a slow discharge battery - for example AGM type gel batteries or pure lead - which resist skidding well and do not involve serious risks of acid leakage.


Engine safety and reliability, including batteries, the battery charger and the control components connected to it, they are guaranteed through tests defined at European level. Since all these components are intended to be part of a vessel, they must be certified with the involvement of a notified body (for example Udicer / Enjoy the Test). The electrical and electronic parts will follow the typical procedures of the Testing Electronic Ship.

Electric engines, market and prospects

The size of the outboard motor market has been assessed 9,1 billions of dollars in 2020 and it is estimated that - by 2027 – will grow with a CAGR (Compounded Average Growth Rate, compound annual growth rate) higher than 5%. This is the perspective outlined by the report “Outboard Engines Market 2021-2027” of Global Market Insights. The report confirms that the increase in sports and nautical activities around the world will support the growth of the market; just as happened in 2018 in the United States, in which about 84,5 millions of citizens they have gone by boat at least once.

According to National Marine Manufacturers Association (NAMMA), the gross production of pleasure boating, of fishing and other water activities was worth it 38,6 billions of dollars in 2018. Recreational boating outdoors represents, therefore, one of the highest spending on outdoor recreation by US users.

At US as well as European level, Furthermore, the market segment of the outboard electric motors will grow interestingly - with a CAGR estimated at 3% - by 2027. This is attributed to the attention of regulatory bodies around the world to reduce pollution levels and emissions from marine engines, but also to the fact that operators in the sector are launching electric outboard motors - as well as batteries - increasingly advanced to meet a expanding customer base.

For the certification of these products, you can contact a notified body (for example Udicer / Enjoy the Test) which uses Sicom Testing for the marine electronics certification.

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