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10 things to consider when buying an electric boat engine

What things are important when choosing an electric motor?

We give you a brief overview of the choice of the right electric motor for your boat. Depending on the boat, engine type and desired travel time, there are many different aspects to consider. An electric motor is not the same as an electric motor. Besides, not every boat is the same. We hope you enjoy reading! Please write to us with your questions and suggestions about the article.

  • Is there a personal contact person?
  • Do you get professional advice?
  • Are the performance and battery capacity optimally designed for your boat?
  • Does your contact person have a neutral overview of all 400+ engines?
  • Are you offered different alternatives from several manufacturers?
  • Are the products easily comparable?
  • Is an individual solution possible?
  • Are installation and service guaranteed?
  • Is there extensive information and advice?
  • Are warranty and spare parts available?

Disclaimer: Of course, not all aspects are always important for every boater. Some points are mandatory for you and some you do not need at all. The article deals with the points that we noticed when looking for the perfect electric motor for our boat. We were quite disappointed in some points and therefore want to help other boaters.

1. Is there a personal contact person??

From your own experience, it takes a long time to familiarize yourself with the topic of electric boat drives. You should plan at least a few days for the basics and of course bring a little technical know-how about engines and boats. If you have the time and leisure, you may even enjoy it and learn a lot.

When we were looking for an electric motor, we just wanted to know which electric motor with which battery and charger we could take. Finished. We would have preferred to get this over with Amazon or Check24 or a digital consultant within a few minutes. Our goal was simply a silent, clean and efficient electric motor.

The first question that should be asked: Do you want to discuss your requirements for the electric motor for your boat together with a personal contact person or do you want to read the topic yourself? We would have opted for the personal contact person because we had far too little experience with boat engines.

First, we saw electric motors in many online shops and the first challenge was the accessibility and the suitable medium. Some do not offer advice by phone and can only be reached by email. In a personal conversation, it is much easier to determine which engine fits best, so many shops out of the selection.

Not only the shops but also some manufacturers could hardly be reached by email or phone or did not respond to emails.

Tip 1: Get an impression of whether your contact person can be reached easily.

greenboatsolutions: We attach great importance to a personal contact person and are therefore available 24/7. You can contact us by email, phone, call back or personally at trade fairs. If necessary, we will, of course, come by on-site to get a better picture. You can also find out all the details about electric boat motors from us and even find the right solution yourself in our digital advice.

2. Is professional advice given to you?

On our way to the first electric motor, we got advice from 10 different companies and ended up with 11 opinions. We had to find the golden mean from the different aspects. Not that easy.

What distinguishes high-quality advice? We thought it couldn't be that difficult. All electric motors are similar and we just have to find out the performance. However, there are many more factors involved: boat type, weight, length, salt or freshwater, flow speed, travel time, frequency and type of engine and a few more.

If we had bought the proposed boat engine immediately after the first consultation, we would probably have been very disappointed. In some consultations, the dimensioning of our requirements was not even right. Especially since the consultations are usually not carried out in the level of detail. Often three to four questions are asked and then only about any products.

Tip 2: Pay attention to how well the needs analysis is carried out and how well your contact person is listening.

greenboatsolutions: We wanted to develop a new consulting standard and make it freely available and take all aspects into account as best as possible. We are constantly working on improving it and mapping it digitally and personally. In our digital advisory tool, you will find all relevant points and descriptions, why it may be important for you and what there is to consider.

3. Are the performance and battery capacity optimally designed for your boat?

The most important aspects of advice include engine performance and battery capacity. The size of the battery has a major impact on the total price of the package. We calculate the performance based on the weight, the type of boat and the area of application. The battery capacity is then determined based on the engine and the desired travel time.

Here, too, there were often different values when advising manufacturers or dealers. Some would have let us go for the 3-ton houseboat with a 3 kW motor. In the end, we decided on better maneuverability and a 6 kW motor.

There was another way: some manufacturers, without batting an eyelash, brought an 11 or 15 kW motor into play. In our opinion, completely oversized, especially since we didn't want to go by boat on the Rhine with a larger current.

There were also some deviations in the driving time and thus the size of the battery, which of course were also due to the engine. Sometimes it can be worth considering a second offer. What you should consider is that the contact persons often simply want to generate more profit by selling more or larger drives. Tip 3: Find out more from several people or use an independent tool such as our digital advice.

greenboatsolutions: Our modern and digital advice tool provides suitable information and complete packages. The advice is equivalent to or better than that of many providers. We are currently working on turning the tool into a DIN standard as part of a DIN Connect competition.

4. Does your contact person have a neutral overview of all 400+ engines?

You now have a good overview of how much power you need and which battery (capacity) is suitable for your driving style. Perfect! It continues by looking for individual manufacturers or providers and looking at the motors and batteries.

Easier said than done. There are more than 400 different electric boat motors. We also had to find that out and the research turned into several days. To be honest, we have not found a contact person who knows every supplier on the market and can assess which engines work how well.

You will find all the information available to us on our pages for the individual motors. You can get extensive information and in the long term, we will also provide you with videos, customer reviews and data from test series. We still have a lot of work to do and we look forward to any support.

Tip 4: Take the time to get an insight into a large number of motors and to compare them.

greenboatsolutions: Our goal is to combine all over 400 motors from more than 20 manufacturers on our platform and thus to offer a transparent comparison option. Those interested in electric boat engines can obtain all information free of charge, compare prices and find the right contact person directly. We are working to further improve this offer for you.

5. You get offered different alternatives from several manufacturers?

Of course, the manufacturers only advise on their own motors and most shops or dealers usually only have two to three different manufacturers of electric motors. This basically covers most of it.

However, there are more than 20 manufacturers and we have noticed that there are also other, sometimes higher-quality engines. In addition, we were able to save some money on the purchase!

What would have helped us then? We would have liked to have a contact person who would do all the research and look for offers for any engine from any manufacturer. We are bargain hunters and would be reluctant to pay anything for advice. We would have liked a win-win situation where the seller provides perfect advice and at the same time does not cost more than the manufacturer.

Tip 5: Take advantage of our free service.

greenboatsolutions: We take care of you that the manufacturers create an individual offer for you, without additional effort or costs for you. In return, we receive a small commission from our cooperation partner. The price for you is the same.

6. Is there extensive information and advice?

Info and notes. For some manufacturers, it is not so easy to find information about the products in addition to the technical data. You know your own products, so there was a lack of information, especially for beginners like us a while ago. Information, reports from customers or examples of how the system looks in practice.

Not everything that glitters is gold. In addition to little information, the presentation of advantages and disadvantages also leaves something to be desired. When looking for the perfect electric motor, we didn't even notice (!) That something negative was reported about individual motors. We would have liked a kind of Check24, where besides the advantages it is also clearly visible, what there is to consider and where some models do worse.

Tip 6: Read our extensive product pages!

greenboatsolutions: We remain true to a neutral presentation of advantages and disadvantages and also want to communicate aspects that we believe are not optimal. More information and download options will soon be available on the individual pages so that you can find out more if you are interested.

7. Are the products easily comparable to you?

Electric boat drives are frankly quite difficult to compare. The motors and batteries look the same from the outside. Really judging which products are better or worse than others is very difficult.

In the first step, we work on clearly comparing the numbers, data, and facts of the engines for you to make a comparison possible. Simply enter your details and select the complete packages that are suitable for you. Alternatively, all the products in the shop are comparable.

It is also not so easy in a personal consultation, at least without some visual support. Some manufacturers offer test drives or send models to larger customers for testing. Depending on the size of the engine, you should definitely consider this.

Tip 7 Go on boating shows and see the products live, there are usually opportunities to test them.

greenboatsolutions: In the mid term we want to review and compare all engines in videos on YouTube. It would have been worth a lot for us to see the motors in action and see how someone handles them on the boat.

8. Is an individual solution possible for you?

Every boat is a thing in itself, there is no uniform standard. We were not in the situation that we needed a completely individual solution. We receive many inquiries or boat owners at a trade fair that have special requests or their own ideas, from the size to the excitement of the system.

Here the wheat is separated from the chaff. There are manufacturers who focus on bringing products to the market that are exciting for a large number of users. However, there are far fewer contacts for these special cases.

For individual requirements, we have a number of special contacts who can cover all areas, from winding the motor to custom-made products for commercial shipping. Special features for your boat are definitely not an obstacle on the way to clean and sustainable electric motors.

Tip 8: Write us a message or give us a call if you have specific ideas.

Your boat. Our drive.: That is our motto and we try to make everything possible. We have already collected a lot of contacts and can assess which partners are suitable for which projects and we want to expand this further in the long term.

9. Are the installation and service of the boat engine possible?

The perfect engine has been found, regardless of whether it is an individual solution or an engine from a well-known manufacturer. What's next? Who takes care of the installation of the electric drive? With outboard motors, this is a relaxed thing up to a certain size. The assembly at the rear is totally uncomplicated and is easy to do by hand.

What happens to larger systems? It is easiest if you already have a boat builder or contact person on site. However, many do not have a permanent partner for such conversions. In any case, you should start early to find a specialist for the installation. Demand is high and supply is fairly low, and that won't be easier in the coming years.

In order to bring supply and demand together, we want to create a map with service partners in order to get a service partner as quickly as possible. Some manufacturers like RiPower offer installation from their own hand, others only sell the motors. You are welcome to write to us with ideas and suggestions.

Fortunately, in addition to installation, an electric motor requires very little service because the motors are usually maintenance-free. Depending on the durability of the batteries, they should be checked if necessary. The maintenance-free electric motors save you time and money in any case.

Tip 9: Start looking for a supplier for installation at an early stage.

greenboatsolutions: It is not easy for us to do justice to the installation and service. Rather, we are an independent broker who wants to advise all boat owners on electric drives. However, it does not work without installation, so we work here with partners and forward these orders directly. We are also happy to look for partners at your location.

10. Are warranty and spare parts available?

The electric motor runs and runs and runs. But what happens when you need spare parts? A broken propeller after running aground can happen quickly. Many manufacturers have been around for many years and they offer corresponding spare parts. As a rule, a regional dealer is not so important, the parts will be sent to you directly by post anyway.

The situation is similar in the case of a guarantee for smaller boat engines. The engine will be sent back and repaired or a new copy will be sent to you. For larger installations, a regional contact person is recommended, but most manufacturers provide all services throughout Germany through a wide service network.

The guarantee looks quite similar to all manufacturers. Usually two years warranty for private users and one year in the commercial sector. We have heard from some manufacturers like FMT that there have been no (!) Returns so far. Others like RiPower even offer the option of a 5 (!) Year guarantee.

In our opinion, these are service promises that make the difference. It doesn't always have to be the cheap model but has to be of high quality, especially for my boat. In general, we think that spare parts are not a problem in the long term, even for new companies or models, because the industry is developing extremely well.

Tip 10: Don't just pay attention to the price when choosing the right system and keep an eye on service and guarantee!

greenboatsolutions: We would be happy to advise you on the choice of the right drive and answer your questions about guarantees or spare parts.

Conclusion on the purchase of electric boat engines

Ultimately, almost all manufacturers and dealers provide good advice for their own products. You can also calculate a little less for an individual complete package or create various offers.

If independent and high-quality advice is important to you, you can use our advice tool, the comparison options or our personal advice with a clear conscience. We naturally recommend our advice to you and look forward to working with you to find the perfect electric motor!

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