The Emergence Of Everyday Electric Outdoor Machines
CLEAN TECHNICA - MAY 23, 2022 - Carolyn Fortuna
We’ve become accustomed to internal combustion engines for our mowers and snowmobiles, bicycles, and boats. But electrification is happening in other motorized markets, with some really fun results.
The invention of the electric motor revolutionized life in the home. We take it for granted in the western world that clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners, fans, air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers are electric. Everyday electric outdoor machines, however, have been slower to see mass adoption, with internal combustion engines (ICEs) favored for a century due to what had been an energy density advantage.
But the prominence of ICEs in equipment has begun to wane.
If you look around in the garden section of your local home improvement store, you’ll notice that the assortment of lawn mowers, leaf blowers, weed wackers, and edgers now includes a nice selection of electric options.
Head out to the boat show, and the talk of the civic center is the reveal of slick electric boats.
The Electrification of Boats
The electrification of boats is happening right now, according to Motorboat and Yachting magazine. From 7.7m foiling sportboats to 18m catamarans, electric boats are here. Because water creates so much resistance, small day boats make the most viable converts to electric power.
With boat electrification comes a change in culture so top speed becomes less favored than comfortable cruising.
Some engineers are taking advantage of the shift to electrification to rethink design. The only electric offshore powerboat racing series, E1, plans to begin staging events in Miami and other cities next year. The series will use battery-powered boats equipped with hydrofoils that lift the hulls above the water, greatly reducing resistance. The series was established to create an exciting, competitive racing platform to promote sustainable electric watercraft and reduce the environmental pressures being placed on the ocean, rivers, and lakes. “We have to change the paradigm,” said Rodi Basso, the chief executive and founder of E1. “This is what Tesla has done.”
Smaller electrified boats are a good fit for the hundreds of lakes where conventional outboard motors are now banned because of noise or pollution. Sailboats, of course, are the original sustainable watercraft and have operated on wind power for thousands of years. A Bloomberg article made us smile, as a small number of specialty roasters in Europe are now offering beans that have been sailed — rather than shipped via fossil fuel burning vessels — from South America.
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