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First Electric–Powered Alerion Express Launched!

June 16, 2010

After months of engineering and design work, we were able to test an Alerion Express 33 with a Mastervolt Lithium-Ion electric saildrive system.  The application of this technologically advanced propulsion system was spurred by a customer who did not want to spoil the quietness of the intimate, nature-filled waters he prefers for sailing near his home in Vancouver, Canada. His query whether the diesel saildrive, which is standard in this model of Alerion, could be replaced with electric propulsion resulted in this launching.  The experience of motoring this boat has been described as “Astonishing” by boat reviewers, dealers and sailors of all stripes.

Underway, even at full speed, the only noise on board is the rustle of wind, the slap of crossing another boat’s wake or crew conversations. Said one reviewer, “I didn’t realize we were under power until I noticed our wake and saw moored boats passing us! It took time to adjust my behavior, throttling back when underway – because there is no spooling up noise of a diesel.” A marine electronics writer, measuring dB readings on deck and below with a sophisticated sound meter, could detect no motor noise.  The electric-drive mated with Mastervolt’s 7.5 kW saildrive system, their MLI 24/160 Li-Ion battery on a single charge gives the AE33 approximately 20 nautical mile range – which can be greater or less depending on speed, number of crew, wind and weather conditions. Installing additional MLI 24/160 packs, which are relatively small and lightweight, permits those who might face longer motoring situations to  still use this system.

Check out this short video to learn more.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Frank permalink
    June 22, 2010 2:51 am

    Great idea!

    • June 28, 2010 3:02 pm

      Thanks, Frank. The electric Alerion has made quite a “splash”. We’re blown away by not only her performance but the attention she’s been getting!

    • Bill Wilkinson permalink
      August 7, 2010 10:59 am

      Has any thought been given to making electric power available to the Alerion 28 in the future?

      • August 7, 2010 12:42 pm

        Great question, Bill. The installation on the 33 was such a success that doing similar applications on the other boats is inevitable. We would definitely explore a request to do the same system on the 28.

  2. Tom permalink
    July 6, 2010 11:01 am

    How large an area of solar panels would be required to recharge the battery while underway or at anchor? How long does a full charge take and is the re charging available through a standard dock electical connection?

    • July 6, 2010 12:29 pm

      Hi Tom – The solar panel question is a tough one. This really depends on the type of solar panel you choose as well as what level of charge you want. The regenerating propellor is a better approach if you don’t mind sacrificing some performance while under sail. Regular charging takes place through a standard shore power connection and depending on the level of discharge it can take up to 6 hours to recharge the batteries.

  3. GeorgeinME permalink
    November 25, 2010 8:54 pm

    Electric propulsion!? I want one!

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