How long is your extension cord?
A Discussion of the Pros & Cons

I will begin with the disadvantages, mainly because there are fewer and it is best to deal with them first.

1.   Your travel is limited to a certain distance, governed by the capacity of your battery bank. While this bank can be recharged, this is not as quick a procedure as gassing up a tank.
2.   Your speed will be lower than with a high powered gas motor.
3.   Total weight of the power package will be higher than with an equivalent gas package.
4.   Initial purchase price will be about 30%-50% higher than an equivalent gas package.

I will now argue the disadvantages, and then go to the pure advantages.

1.   Chances are that with a properly sized battery bank, you will have more range than you would use in a day. The batteries can be charged overnight and you are ready to go the next day. With the built in charger, the heaviest thing you will have to deal with is an extension cord. No heavy gas tanks, smelly or flammable gas to spill over you, your boat, or into the lake, no oil and gas to worry about mixing properly, and no trips to the marina or gas station, because for most electricity is right at their cottage.
2.   After rushing around all week, maybe slowing down and really seeing the beauty all around you isn't all that bad. Getting there can be half the fun.
3.   None of your individual components weigh more than with a gas system. The battery bank is where most of the weight is. These can be removed, when necessary,
one at a time, and need only be taken out for winter storage. In a properly designed boat, the weight can be put to good use to enhance stability, like ballast in a sailboat, and smooth the ride in rough water.
4.   Yes the initial cost is more, but let's examine it over the life cycle of the batteries. We will assume that the batteries have been looked after well, but not really well and say that you get 650 cycles. Manufacturers say that in the demanding golf cart rental business, customers should expect up to 1000 cycles before performance drops off. We will use a name brand 15-hp two-stroke outboard with electric start as a comparison. We will use current energy costs as our basis for comparison.

Ray model 300 48 volt electric with 8 batteries, charger and remote controls  15 HP outboard with starter, battery, fuel tank, and remote controls
 purchase price  $ 6942.50  purchase price  $ 4005.00
 650 cycles at about 60 km.=39000 km.
650 charges of 230 AH x 48V= 11040 Watts or 11.04 Kilowatt Hours @ $.0804
11.04 Kwh. X $.0804 equals about $.89 per charge
 $   575.25  39000 km. At 4 km. /litre = 9750 litres @ 59.9 cents/litre  $ 5840.25
 2 stroke oil  $     00.00  about $ 3 per tank  $ 1200.00
 tune ups  $      00.00  8 at      $ 35.  $   280.00
 Total  $ 7,517.75   Total  $11,360.25

  This chart doesn't include repairs. An electric motor such as the Ray has only one moving part. The gas motor has many more. If you used it enough to go through more sets of batteries, the savings would be even more significant. A bank of batteries and their charging costs amount to about 20% of the fuel costs alone, for a gas motor.

Quiet. In fact almost silent. Think how much more wildlife you will see if you don't frighten it. Your neighbours will also appreciate this silence and you won't have to worry about them hearing you when you are trying to be heard above the exhaust noise.
2. Maintenance. Very few moving parts, cool running, and no tune ups, carburetors, cooling fluids, plugs to foul, or starting hassles.
3. Safe. With no gasoline in the boat, you are quite simply in a much safer environment. There is no danger of shock from the low voltage direct current that these boats operate on.
4. Our Environment. This is the most important advantage of the boats. Arguments can be made that the pollution is happening elsewhere, and to a certain extent this is true, (If you want to be totally clean, solar chargers are available, and the price is quite reasonable, which can replenish your battery bank.) but it is so much less than with any other form of powered transportation that this is still the cleanest way, short of the paddle, to move a boat. Enough cannot be said about the importance of this, but I will give a few examples. Batteries are now almost 100% recyclable. Electric boats don't go fast enough to disturb fragile shorelines, annoy others, or injure flora and fauna. They don't smoke, stink, or put petroleum into the water and endanger that precious interface between air and water that is the basis for life on this planet. In short they are so great that I don't know why everybody doesn't have one.




DC 23 & 18


Michael & Susan Butz
3503 Glamorgan Rd
Haliburton, Ontario
K0M 1S0


 3503 Glamorgan Rd
Take Hwy. 118 East from Haliburton,south on Glamorgan Rd (Cty. Rd. 3), 4 km to #3503

Open year round by appointment.