ATHENS, N.Y. – Elco Motor Yachts, a leader in electric and hybrid propulsion, has developed a new coupling that connects Elco’s EP-600, EP-1200 and EP-2000 electric propulsion systems to Yanmar SD20 saildrive systems with only minimal modifications. This new compatibility makes electric propulsion a more viable option for repowering sailboats equipped with saildrives.
Saildrives, marine transmission systems that connect an inboard engine to a horizontal output shaft, have become a popular feature of many sailboats because they eliminate shaft vibrations, unnecessary noise, as well as alignment and spacing problems in the hull. These benefits make saildrives an ideal match for the clean, quiet cruising provided by Elco electric motors.
In addition, Elco motors offer more efficient maneuvering for vessels equipped with saildrives. Because they are traditionally used with diesel engines, saildrive systems are designed to shift position in order to reverse propeller direction. When connected to an electric motor, the saildrive leg can be locked in the forward position while the motor itself switches direction. Elco’s patent-pending system utilizes a three-phase AC induction motor, which is up to 50 percent more efficient than fossil fuel engines and provides immediate high torque for quicker directional transitions that enable tight maneuvers to be performed safely.
“While there are electric propulsion systems on the market available with saildrives, they are often proprietary systems with replacement parts that are difficult to find at local repair shops,” said Elco CEO Steve Lamando. “It was important for us to find a way to connect our motors to Yanmar saildrives because they are a global leader with a vast availability of parts and service locations worldwide, which makes installing and maintaining our electric propulsion systems even more user-friendly.”
As environmental impact concerns continue to rise, more boaters and sailors are looking for efficient, eco-friendly powertrain systems. With this new coupling, those who want to repower or purchase a new boat with a saildrive can consider electric propulsion as a practical option. Major boat builders such as Marlow-Hunter are also working with Elco to provide solutions for consumers that are demanding electric propulsion for a quiet and clean boating experience.
Elco offers several types of electric and hybrid options, including serial and parallel systems. For more information, visit www.elcomotoryachts.com/pure-electric.shtml.