It's no secret -- electric boating is coming. That brings with it a fair share of opinions, and there are good arguments on both sides.
Gas-powered engines have been the backbone of boating since the advent of the internal combustion engine, so that makes for a strong track record going back literally centuries. Electric boating is still in its infancy, relatively speaking, and with that emergence comes growing pains. In the simplest of terms, electric boating is in the midst of sorting out how it can match key performance metrics like range, total energy output, and reliability that are on par with its gas-powered counterparts. Naysayers aren't wrong to say that electric boating isn't yet there, but the data behind that statement won't hold up for much longer.
In fact, 2023 could be the year that the proverbial floodgates open.
Engine manufacturers like Mercury Marine, Vision Marine Technologies, Torqeedo, and others are in the midst of an electric revolution. Mercury's new Avator electric outboard is just the start from the almighty Brunswick Corporation, and the 180e outboard from Vision Marine is already setting records. Mercury has already made bold claims about their plans for electric boats in 2023.
The tidal wave cometh.
Boatbuilders like Sweden's X-Shore are currently leading the pack by inching ever closer to large-scale market viability. Even auto manufacturers like General Motors are starting to intertwine with the marine industry to help both sides advance their technological prowess.
So, what's in store for electric boating in 2023? Lots. Considering we've already taken a look at what's in store for gas-powered boating in 2023, now is the time to go electric.
Here are 10 electric boats to watch for in 2023:
1) The X-Shore 1
As arguably the leaders of the electric boating movement, X-Shore has announced a new model with a drastically lower pricepoint than their previous offering, the Eelex 8000. While the Eelex 8000 continues to be the figurehead of the electric boating movement, the premise behind the 'X-Shore 1' is to make electric boating an achievable reality for boaters across the pricing spectrum. The 'X-Shore 1' is now primed to make a big splash in 2023. Read more.
2) Four Winns H2e Bowrider
Four Winns, which is owned by the larger Groupe Beneteau conglomerate, announced late in 2022 that they would be offering one of their popular 'H' Series dayboats in an electric configuration. This comes on the heels of Beneteau, which owns Four Winns, Wellcraft, Scarab, Glastron, Prestige, and others, announcing they will be adding electric power across their portfolio. In partnership with the aforementioned Vision Marine Technologies, the Four Winns H2e is a solid dayboat with a respectable 180 horsepower from Vision's E-Motion 180e outboard. Read more.
3) The Cybertruck IS a Boat!
Sure, it's not a 'boat' in the traditional sense, but its not not a boat. That's according to Tesla titan Elon Musk, who has claimed that the upcoming Cybertruck must be capable of serving as a boat in order to get from the Cybertruck assembly plant to nearby South Padre Island. It's a distance of 500m, and Musk claims that the Cybertruck must be 100% watertight and be built to accommodate such adventures. Considering that Tesla is the worldwide leader of all things electric, you can expect this to spill over into the marine world. Especially when boaters try taking their Cybertrucks for a ride around the marina... by water. Read more.
4) Riva El-Iseo
One of the world's best boutique boatmakers has taken the plunge. Fabled Italian manufacturer Riva is known for their impressive yachts, but they dipped their toe in the water of electric boating by launching the 27-foot El-Iseo. Designed as a yacht tender. The stunning runabout will use a Parker GVM310 electric motor, which packs some impressive performance for its size. If Riva is starting to dabble with their small boats, the larger ones won't be far behind. Read more.
5) Godfrey 'Mighty G' Pontoon
Not only is it a great name, but the 'Mighty G' from Godfrey will have 100% power as the renowned pontoon maker steps foot into electric boating. Sure, it's the 'Mighty G' but that clever play on words is actually for a relatively small platform with a 15'7'' LOA and just a 7'6" beam. But the thing is, that's plenty for a lot of pontoon boaters and daytrippers. The Mighty G will also have two configurations -- one for cruising and one for fishing -- and it's Torqeedo outboard will have power equivalent to a 25 horsepower gas-powered outboard. Small, but mighty. Read more.
6) Taiga 'Orca' PWC
Sure, it isn't a boat, but a PWC is a watercraft, so we're putting Taiga on the list. And it's not for the novelty, the technology behind Quebec's premier PWC builder is nothing short of impressive. The Orca PWC has a walloping 160 horsepower and a top speed of 104 km/h, which puts it on par with any high-end PWC on the market. It can also recharge up to 80% in just 30 minutes. If you're the investing type, Taiga is also a publicly traded company that has been doing well on the stock market. The company secured another $100 million in private investment funding in 2022 alone. Read more.
7) DeAntonio D48 Formenter
You might see a little overlap between the DeAntonio D48 Formenter and another boat on this list, but that's not a bad thing. The D48 is a beauty, but it also brings something to the table that no other boat on this list does -- hybrid power. The Formenter blends both gas and electric power which alternate at the primary power source depending on the boat's actibity. For low-mid speed maneuvers, two 15 kW retractable electric motors run the show. When it's go-time, a 400 hp Mercury outboard picks up the slack. Not too shabby. Read more.
8) Candela P-8 Passenger Boat
Candela has only been around since 2016, but in that time they've done an exceptional job reimagining the hydrofoil. The hydrofoil is actually a very old concept (you might recognize the name Sir Alexander Graham Bell, you know the telephone guy, he patented the concept in 1908), and Candela has blended some proven design traits with modern technology to create some remarkable watercraft. Their new P-8 Passenger is intended as a commercial shuttle or tourist vessel, but it also has potential as a handy dayboat. It produces a tiny 5 cm (2 in) wake and operates in near total silence, so for those looking for peace and quiet around the cottage, you'd be hard pressed to find a smoother ride than the P-8. Read more.
9) The 'Arc One'
The 'Arc' has a list of celebrity backers that include Will Smith, Kevin Durant, and P-Diddy, but don't let the Hollywood favoritism fool you. The Arc is legit. With a hefty financial backing, the company completed its first run in 2022 with it's Arc One, a 24-foot runabout that looks as unique as it performs. Visually it's a little... out there, but under the deck is packs a 220 kW battery pack that generates over 500 horsepower and a top speed exceeding 40 mph. Despite it's size and weight, it has enough juice for a 5 hour runtime, which is solid for the electric boat market. You can already reserve one with just a $1000 deposit, so get on that. Read more.
10) Pure Watercraft GM Pontoon
Like we mentioned before, there's a growing interplay between auto and marine manufacturers when it comes to electric power. Both sides have ample resources and good ideas, so it makes sense they'd start liaising with one another to take advantage of each other's capabilities. General Motors was one of the first to make that camaraderie apparent when they purchased 25% of Seattle-based Pure Watercraft for a cool $150 million USD. The intention was obviously to explore each other's battery technology, which ultimately led to the launch of Pure Watercraft's new boat -- a 24-foot pontoon that uses PW's own twin outboards paired with GM's 66 kW battery pack. The result is a unique boat (just look at the pics), but an excellent insight into the future of electric boating. Read more.