by Kasper Buur | Dec 1, 2023 | Business News
The electrification of light transport on land has been underway for some time, with the American car manufacturer Tesla driving developments with their popular electric cars. However, on water, it's a different story. Progress has been slow due to the challenge of achieving an optimal balance between speed and range.
In Kalvehave, South Zealand, Gert Larsen, founder, and co-owner of Eboating, has tackled this challenge. As a result, they are now poised to enter a massive market across Europe. Eboating has just returned from Colombia, where they have entered into an agreement with AB, one of the world's largest manufacturers of RIB boats. Eboating and AB are joining forces to deliver electric RIB inflatable boats to the entire European market.
"The potential is enormous. World Sailing is now introducing new regulations that, for major events like the Olympics and World Championships, coach boats must sail on electricity. There are about 300-400 coach boats in Denmark alone," explains Gert Larsen, adding, "But we don't intend to start only in Denmark. We plan to launch in Europe, declaring it as our market for coach boats. The trade channel is in place, and we have the capacity and supply chain in order to scale up."
However, at E-boating, they offer much more than just electrified RIB inflatable boats. Gert Larsen and his four full-time employees convert existing gasoline-powered boats to electric and service outboard motors from Torqeedo. Additionally, the company E-boating sells rudders and pivoting sail drives for sailboats.
"It has been difficult to achieve high speed and long range simultaneously. We have now solved that. Our boat can realistically sail around 37 nautical miles with the throttle fully engaged," says Gert Larsen.
The RIB inflatable boats from Eboating are built around an aluminum hull from AB and outboard motors from Torqeedo.
"What's special about the boat is the whole package. It's an extremely light boat, an extremely light and high-efficiency battery bank, and some very high-efficiency motors. This allows us to sail fast and far," explains Gert Larsen, who has designed the control unit himself to make all parts work together.
Developed in Kalvehave
The man behind Eboating has neither an engineering degree nor any other educational background to develop and integrate technical solutions. Gert Larsen is self-taught and has gathered all knowledge about technology and mechanics on his own.
"Five years ago, I was a one-man army, running around a bit eccentrically at Kalvehave Harbor, talking about electric-powered boats," says Gert Larsen.
It has always been the technical aspects that caught Gert Larsen's attention, whether it was programming anti-spin systems for race cars or strobe light shows in the youth club.
Eboating's Electric Coach boats emerged because Gert Larsen himself had been a junior coach in various sailing clubs and experienced the need for electric coach boats. Additionally, Gert Larsen wanted to improve the marine environment.
"We have a lot of pollution in our oceans nowadays. Eboating's approach is to deliver the most environmentally friendly product possible," says Gert Larsen.
Most boat manufacturers think of traditional boats, which, instead of gasoline engines, are powered by electricity. That's where Eboating started five years ago when Gert Larsen converted a gasoline boat to electric.
But it dawned on Gert Larsen that the electric boat needed to be rethought, and there was one factor that was absolutely essential.
"It's weight and weight and more weight. And the right shape."
Once the code is cracked, according to Gert Larsen, you get a much better boat when it sails with an electric motor.
"There is better maneuverability in an electric boat. And it's like with a Tesla. It's an elastic you release when you push the throttle down. Then you're off. There is a completely different power and torque in electric motors."
Although the purchase price of Eboating's electric-powered RIB inflatable boat is somewhat higher than a traditional gasoline boat, the electric boat still makes sense.
"When we look at total operating costs, it costs about a tenth to sail on electricity. Service on the engines is one of the major expenses when such a boat is used for everyday use, and it is significantly lower on electric motors," says Gert Larsen.
Exciting Projects Ahead
Eboating's RIB inflatable boats are primarily intended for sailing clubs, where the boat can serve as a coach boat. But they can also be used in many other contexts, explains Gert Larsen.
"Police, defense, the home guard, and other public authorities use that type of boat. And the business world is busy transitioning because it is significantly cheaper to sail on electricity."
And Eboating has good cards now, partly because of the collaboration agreement with Colombian AB, where Eboating gains access to AB's European sales channel.
"We have a good group of owners, so I believe in our project. I believe we can become a market leader in electric RIB inflatable boats," says Gert Larsen.