NEWS - Serial Hybrid diesel-electric drives for boats

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Mastervolt and Steyr Motors partner to develop hybrid-propulsion system

NEWS - Serial Hybrid diesel-electric drives for boats
NEWS — Serial Hybrid diesel-electric drives for boats

European electrical equipment supplier Mastervolt and Austrian marine-diesel manufacturer Steyr Motors have formed a working partnership to develop and distribute a range of Serial Hybrid diesel-electric drive installations for boats.

The Serial Hybrid system relies on the electric motor to drive the boat, while the diesel engine effectively becomes an efficient generator set that charges the batteries for the motor.

Amsterdam-based Mastervolt and Steyr consider this system simpler than the parallel arrangement — where both the diesel engine and electric motor can drive the propshaft — and well suited to marine applications.

Both companies said they will bring together Steyr’s expertise in diesel technology and associated mechanics with Mastervolt’s highly advanced electrical power solutions.

"With rapidly increasing interest in Hybrid drives among boat owners, there is a requirement for a one-stop shop for these 21st century propulsion systems," said the companies in a joint statement.

"This partnership between Steyr Motors and Mastervolt brings together two innovative players in a way that will result in the development of the technology of the future, for delivery tomorrow, boosting the possibilities of e-propulsion in the medium- to high-end leisure market," said Mastervolt CEO Paul Kenninck.

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Schematic: Steyr Motors won a DAME award at METS, Amsterdam — the world’s largest marine trade exhibition of equipment, materials and systems — in 2007 for its parallel hybrid technology.

This hybrid propulsion system allows a powerboat to operate in any of four modes:

* The electric motor can be used to start the diesel engine, eliminating the need for a starter motor;
* The electric motor can be used as a generator to charge the boat’s batteries;
* In Cruise Mode, the boat is under electric power at speeds up to 5kts; and,
* The torque of the electric motor can be used in "boost" mode for situations where additional power to the diesel engine is required, such as getting the boat onto the plane.


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