Electromobility on the water is fun, only the hurdles need to be removed. And to achieve this, all players must pull together. The platform for this is the Electric Summit, which brought together around 90 experts on the first day of Boot & Fun in Berlin.
The intention of the format initiated by Kerstin Zillmer, editor-in-chief of float, is to invite business, research and politics to the table to talk about the electric future on the water. After all, short distances and direct communication are the most reliable way to make concrete plans.
At the first Electric Summit in Werder in the summer, the industry agreed on its common interests and wishes. Deficits in the e-transformation, which exist despite enormous progress in recent years, were also named – keyword: lack of charging infrastructure.
Kerstin Zillmer ended the expert meeting in Werder at the end of August with a promise: “We’ll meet at Boot & Fun in three months’ time and have politics on board.” She kept her word. Now, at the beginning of December – just three months later – the second step follows. The circle is extended to include a sector without which nothing works: politics. The event was supported by the German Motor Yacht Association, Mercury Marine, the Delphia Yachts and Frauscher shipyards – and Boot & Fun, where the topic of electric boating is a high priority with the E-Boat Salon.
A season of electric milestones
But before politics and business get to work on a joint action plan in wintry white Berlin, the latest innovations in the e-market will be presented in the first part of Electric Summit #2. And they show: The technical prerequisites for electro-transformation on the water are already in place. The past water sports season saw some remarkable milestones.
All three brands were represented on the podium, and their chief representatives told the audience of more than 90 guests how rapidly electromobility is currently advancing on the water. This was also evident from the Avator sales figures: “Over a thousand units already sold in Europe, more than 2,000 worldwide,” reported Mercury’s head of Germany, Matthias Müller. And he noted: “Demand is growing, especially in the entry-level segment.”
Molabo is also counting on growing demand. The first 50 kW outboard motor will soon be launched on the market. According to Molabo CEO and founder Adrian Patzak, the output of units can be “scaled up to low five-digit annual production figures”. However, the relatively high price of electric motors, mainly due to the expensive batteries, is still a barrier to entry.
Manufacturers such as Mercury and Molabo would therefore undoubtedly welcome funding: “Funding is essential at the start of a project,” says Patzak laconically. And Mercury man Matthias Müller said: “A low-threshold incentive would be a good thing.”
200 electric boats in the Frauscher boat harbor
Stefan Frauscher, CEO of the Frauscher high-end boatyard, also says: “I am against constraints.” Although the family business owes its early electrical expertise to such a compulsion, as Frauscher explains. In 1955, a summer ban on combustion engines was imposed on the first Austrian lakes.
This created a demand for battery-powered boats almost of its own accord. Today, the company maintains a marina on its home turf, Lake Traunsee in Upper Austria, which represents a window into the future. According to Stefan Frauscher, 200 of the 250 berths are already occupied by electric boats.
But this is also where the pitfalls of transformation become apparent, according to the Austrian. “If all the electric boats come back to the harbor at once on a Saturday evening and need electricity, things get tight. Conversely, on a rainy day, all these boats are lying on the jetty with full batteries and nothing can be done with this energy.” A solution is still being sought.
The charging station on the trailer
The man for solutions to challenges of this kind was also on the podium: Helmuth Brants and his company AW Automotive are involved in bringing electricity to boats, among other things. And he met with great interest from all sides with his mobile solution.