Video: Torqeedo Cruise 4 electric outboard motor reivew
Ever wondered about electric outboards? We rate and review the Torqeedo Cruise 4 electric outboard motor on a 3m Sirocco inflatable.
The Torqeedo Cruise 4 is an all-electric outboard motor. It is available in tiller and remote throttles and is designed for the light-displacement and tender markets. Intended for sailboats up to around 4000kg and tenders like our reivew boat, a lightweight Sirocco inflatable, the Torqeedo Cruise 4 electric outboard is claimed to offer as much as 50km of zero emission range. We met at Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay with the intention to find out for ourselves.
Torqeedo Cruise 4 electric outboard
A moderate breeze took away the option of navigating the width of the bay – probably a wise decision regardless of the weather, considering the 3m LOA of the Sirocco.
The review boat was set up for testing with a jury-rigged twin pack of Torqeedo-supplied lithium-based batteries, each 2685 Watt-hours (Wh), 48 volts and a touch less than 25kg. The installation was neat and tidy and immediately highlighted a benefit of batteries, the option of remote storage.
The model Cruise 4 name hints at the boat engine engine’s power output, in this case 4000W. The thrust is claimed to be equivalent to a 9.9hp petrol outboard motor; no doubt this is to sit below regulated power limits for some vessels.
The motor is in the torpedo, not at the head of the engine, and is fully sealed, needing seal changes only every five years. The entire unit is IP67 water resistant, which means it will handle a full 30 minutes submerged. Although we declined to sink the outboard for time constraints, the team from Power Equipment offered for us to test this with such confidence that I trust the claim.
Control is traditional – twist the tiller – but the response and thrust are out of this world. As much as you try to imagine the concept of silent and vibration-free motoring, until you try it, I don’t believe you can really grasp it. When twisting the arm from a standstill the total lack of fuss is serene – there’s just a slight pause designed into the system to allow for accidental inputs. Gone are the rough idle and noise of a two-stroke; missing is the hum of a four-stroke outboard. The Torqeedo Cruise 4 electric outboard goes from stationary silence to peaceful momentum.
At speed, which we had to try of course, we saw more than 10kt and that’s with two on board. Admittedly the 3m tender is a featherweight for the power of the Torqeedo Cruise 4 electric outboard but I still expect good performance from heavier packages, and the company offers a shallower version of the 11-inch, three-blade propeller for displacement hulls.
Beyond the speed, the Torqeedo electric boat motor was a breeze to use on the water. The big 11in prop works well with the engine’s instant torque to make docking or slow-speed control easy. But the Torqeedo outboard focus is more than that; it’s about efficiency and moving the industry off fossil fuels.
Your fuel gauge is a simple LCD screen in the tiller arm that shows power output in Watts (effectively throttle position), percentage of battery life remaining and expected range based on the power output and battery life. Torqeedo also has a propriety app called TorqTrac for Android and iPhone users. Taking user information further, it displays effective range on a GPS map, and records a trip log.
Using the Torqeedo TorTrac app it was clear we had the range to tackle the breadth of Port Phillip, and then some. At a comfortable 4kts the calculated range from two full batteries was over 70km – much more than expected. At full throttle the range dipped below 40km or about two hours’ run time. If range anxiety is an issue, this should steel the nerves.
Torqeedo Cruise 4 outboard price
Perhaps one of the reasons we aren’t seeing more on the water is price. The price of a Torqeedo Cruise 4 outboard is close to $11,000 — the set-up we tested including two batteries, TorqTrac interface and engine. You could buy a few new four-stroke 9.9hp outboards for the money. Yes, there are savings in fuel purchases and servicing but it’s a lot for a 9.9hp equivalent.
Charging a Torqeedo Cruise 4
For all Torqeedo batteries, charging options vary from USB to a Torqeedo-supplied solar kit but the most popular will be to plug in at home. Precaution labels on the batteries note they require a cool, ventilated area to allow heat to dissipate, so nothing overly concerning.
A major advantage of harnessing electric energy over liquid fuel is the opportunity not to rely on local fuels in remote regions. It’s not uncommon to buy fuel in glass jars and bottles in some parts of the world; negating the risk of bad fuel by way of recharging on board is a real boon for the systems.
The lasting impression of the Cruise 4 outboard we tested is the effortless thrust that feels odd without the expected sound and vibration. The tiller arm, without integrated batteries is light, compact and easy to use. The remote mounted batteries offer great opportunity for weight balance or even to bank them up to extend range. The eco-cred is a massive selling point as is the option to charge using gen-sets or renewables when long-distance cruising. The feeling we took away from the test package is that the effortlessness and serenity will never be beaten by a petrol outboard while the lack of fuss and sense of tranquillity are a major boon for boating.
Torqeedo Cruise 4 electric outboard price: $6270
Price as tested, excl batteries.
TYPE Direct-drive electric outboard motor
PROPELLER 11in plastic three-blade
10-12 Commercial Drive, Lynbrook, VIC, 3975
PH +61 (3) 9709 8500
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