One of the most common arguments against electric-powered boats is the difficulty charging them.
Without ready access to a charging station, boaters are rightfully hesitant to venture too far away from the dock. They're also hampered by where they can go, and for how long. The beginnings of electric infrastructure are starting to appear around North America, but most charging stations and e-docks are found at privately owned marinas, or occasionally at publicly funded boat launches.
Now some of the first potential workarounds are starting to take shape.
One of the most interesting concepts to emerge that can overcome this dilemma has been proposed by a company called Faroboats. The Portuguese manufacturer just released the Powerdock, which is exactly what it sounds like -- a floating dock with integrated solar panels. It comes in three models – the S10, S20 and S30 – with battery capacities of 10.2 kWh, 20.4 kWh and 30.6 kWh, respectively.
“We’re here to give you a glimpse of the future,” said Faroboat CEO Nuno Frazao in a company statement.
"A self-sustainable future that is independent of infrastructure, of economic shifts and conflicts, a future that does not waste, does not pollute, does not infringe on others or the planet. A statement of self-sufficiency," he added.
The Powerboat is designed to pair with Faroboats Faro5 electric boat, but it's a charging station that can accommodate any electric-powered recreational boat. The station itself measures 21'5" long by 13'2" wide, which is about the size of a standard berth at most marinas. The Faro5 itself is 16-feet long with a 6'6" beam.
The layout allows the owner to not only have access to electric power for recharging their boat, but it also foregoes the need to install a station that must tap into the existing power grid. For those who don't have easy access to the main power grid, or for those who want self-sufficiency and mobility, the Powerdock is an appealing alternative. The entire unit itself is also towable, so it can be placed in/out of the water for seasonal boaters.
The Powerdock uses a roof comprised of four 450-watt solar arrays of four panels each that produce a total output of 2.7 kW. The company also offers an option to build it with wind turbines to generate additional power during off-peak or dark hours.
According to the company, under ideal conditions the Powerdock can reach a 100% charge in 6-8 hours with the S30.
For those interested in a matching Faro5 boat, the all-electric classically-accented runabout is a real head-turner. The company calls the Faro5 a "1920's inspired runabout" that blends a deep-V hull below the waterline with an ultramodern top deck. The entire top portion is offered with either a 100% Japanese cedar wood deck, or a fibreglass deck option. It carries an LOA of 5 m (16'4"), a 2 m (6'6") beam, and has seating for 5 passengers.
Performance-wise, with its maximum power package using a single 30 kW battery bank, the Faro5 offers a runtime of 8 hours with a top speed of 22 knots (25 mph).
The Faro5 was a Gussies Electric Boat Award in 2022 and is currently available in 15 countries across 5 continents.
You can see how the Powerdock works in the video below: