By: Scott Way
In 2016 Yamaha Marine released a prototype for Harmo, an electric power and control system combining an electric outboard with joystick control to create a complete electric propulsion system. Now that technology is available in the European market, with a US release coming soon.
Yamaha's announcement includes the release of a Harmo rim-drive electric motor integrated with their popular Helm Master EX and Digital Electric Steering. This is the first application of a rim-drive motor, which is typically used in thrusters, as a dedicated outboard engine system.
The total unit weighs just 121 pounds and, like most electric systems, is virtually maintenance free. The unit can power boats up to 32 feet and is available in single or twin configurations. The system uses a 48-volt power supply connected to a 3.7-kW motor to generate 225 pounds of static thrust, or roughly the equivalent of a 9.9 horsepower gas-powered engine. Run time depends on battery type, configuration, boat type, and driving style.
The rim-drive system is designed to provide more efficient propulsion compared to a typical hub propeller of the same size. The rim-drive is mounted on the outer edge of the propeller and generates more thrust at slower speed compared to a conventional gas-powered equivalent. The engine is fitted like a standard outboard via a transom bracket with the usual tilt function for storage and transport, but does have a greater turning radius of 140 degrees and a higher tilt angle of 74 degrees than most gas-powered alternatives.
At this time, Harmo will only be available in the European market but is expected to have increased availability in the US within the next 18 months. There is no current timeline for a release in Canada.
According to Ben Speciale, Yamaha Marine U.S. Business Unit president, “Harmo is the perfect system for horsepower- or internal-combustion restricted waterways. Ultimately, it is up to our boatbuilder customers to decide how to integrate it into their boats, and we are eager to see the result.”
You can get a first-hand look at the new Harmo system in the video below: