Video: Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard motor review

By: Tim van Duyl, Photography by: Alison Kuiter, Video by: John Paul Beirouty

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

Ever wondered about electric outboards? We rate and review the Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard motor on top of an Aquapro RIB.

The Torqeedo Travel 1003 is a traditional small-tender motor in that its fuel is incorporated into the motor as a removable battery. The Torqeedo electric outboard motor’s nomenclature hints at the marine engine’s power, generating 1000W of thrust, close to a 3hp petrol outboard.

Aimed at tenders and day sailors up to 1500kg, the Torqeedo Travel 1003 uses an 11in plastic two-blade propeller, with options for high thrust or speed.

 

Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard

Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard motor

Our review boat was an Aquapro RIB weighing about 55kg. This, with the truly portable Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard motor, represents a typical yacht tender, what we expect to the most popular of the range.

The Torqeedo Travel 1003 battery is 520Wh – not bad for a unit weighing only 4.5kg. Carrying a spare is an option and the swap-over process is as easy as pulling a locking pin and lifting the battery out.

Like the most other Toprqeedo electric engines, the motor is in the torpedo with a 5:1 reduction, and charging is by USB or wall adapter. Being smaller, with less capacity, it’s quicker to charge; a few hours will get it near full, though seven hours are needed for a full charge.

The excellent TorqTrac app was optioned into our review boat package. This is an additional system that has to be added to the off-the-shelf package and plugs between the battery and the tiller; in my opinion it should be integrated from the factory.

Range of Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard
Range and distance travelled, as shown on the Torqeedo app, TorqTrac.

We arrived at the water’s edge without expectation of range and were more than impressed with a projected 42km range at a steady 4.2kt cruise, a speed that felt appropriate for shore to vessel work. This range is down to throttle position – we used a quarter to a third, no more. At full twist we nudged 11km/h but that dragged the expected range below 20km.

 

Torqeedo electric outboard motor price

What is the Torqeedo electric outboard motor price? $3000 (a touch above) for the Torqeedo Travel 1003, excluding the TorqTrac interface. The cost is around three times that of a 3hp petrol two-stroke or twice that of a portable Yamaha or Mercury 4hp four-stroke. However, savings go beyond not buying petrol into servicing and time saved not visiting servos. Moderate to light users are unlikely to gain back the outlay over the life of the engine but you can charge the 1003 Torqeedo battery at home, in the car by USB, or on board via solar, wind or your main engine, giving more flexibility than petrol – and if your main is diesel, you don’t have to carry two fuels.

 

Charging a Torqeedo Travel 1003

Battery and battery removed from a Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric motor

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 wrap

Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric on tender

The lasting impression of the Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard motor is the ease of use being a fully integrated unit, complete with battery. No longer do you need to carry a fuel tank or deal with topping up your under-cowl tank out at sea. The eco-cred is a massive selling point as is the option to charge when long-distance cruising. The feeling I took away from the Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric boat motor is that it does a fine job of its remit. Although outright an expensive alternative to petrol, the value in knowing you are reducing pollution and the ease of use should make it a serious choice for those that can afford one.

 

Torqeedo Travel 1003 electric outboard price: $3080

Price as tested, incl. battery

 

TYPE Direct-drive electric outboard

THRUST 4hp

WEIGHT 13.4kg

PROPELLER 11in plastic two-blade

 

MORE INFORAMTION

Power Equipment

10-12 Commercial Drive, Lynbrook, VIC, 3975

PH +61 (3) 9709 8500

WEB powerequipment.com.au

 

Torqeedo electric outboard motors

 


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