Alt Fuel Bus Showroom Opens in Lima, Peru
VIASPACE Begins Sales of New Light Electric Vehicle Li-Ion Batteries

Island Pilot to Introduce Diesel-Electric Series Hybrid Motor Yacht

The Island Pilot DSe hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Island Pilot, LLC will introduce a diesel-electric series hybrid production motor yacht at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The twin-hull Island Pilot DSe Hybrid 12m combines diesel, solar and electric power (the components of the DSe label).

Measuring 12 meters (39’6”), the DSe uses a pair of Steyr Motors Serial Hybrid Propulsion Systems—one in each hull—each consisting of a Steyr Monoblock 75 hp (56 kW) diesel with an inline 7 kW motor/5kW generator leading to the ZF Saildrive. A 20 kWh battery pack, distributed in the bows, comprises 48 vDC battery banks made up of AGM-style deep cycle batteries from Enersys.

In electric mode, the permanent-magnet motors provide all-electric, zero-emissions cruising speeds of up to 7 1/4 knots. The DSe requires a total of 6 kW to cruise at 6 knots and 10 kW to cruise at 7-1/4 knots.

The DSe hybrid can travel at up to 13 knots using the diesels. When the diesels are running, the motors become generators, supplying a charging current (10 kW total) for the battery arrays and the pair of 3.6 kW pure sine wave Outback inverters that supply the 120 vAC for air conditioning, cooking, entertainment, hot water and outlets.

The DSe Hybrid can run for up to 2 hours using only the battery bank. Diesel fuel economy at 7-knot cruise is up 10 NM/gallon at 7-knot cruise and 2.33 NM/gallons at 13-knot cruise.

The superstructure is designed to maximize the horizontal surface for the 6 kW photovoltaic solar array, which provides power for the support and amenities systems.

Steyr Motors and Frauscher Bootswerft introduced a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system for pleasure boats at the Boot 08 show in Düsseldorf in January 2008. (Earlier post.)



AGM is still lead acid chemistry. Can't say I'm fond of lead in a marine environment. Realize that its standard marine grade, but still...
On the other hand batteries on a lithium chemistry would also seem like a bad idea due to lithium reaction with water.
Anyone think of a better chemistry for these?



Lithium iron phosphate -


The serial hybrid drive has advantages in boats. Vehicles are more difficult. The weight and balance is more manageable in a boat so lead-acid is more practical.

Using only electric in docking is more precise. It also reduces fumes. In marinas on still days it can seem as if every breath may be your last.


A boat eases the requirements and capitalizes on the low cost of the lead acid battery. The weight and size mean a bit less in a boat. The need for high power might be less; it's not like it needs to absorb a lot of deceleration energy.
A low performance battery can provide instant start so endless idling at the marina is eliminated.
And low speed operation (in no-wake areas) requires much less power proportionately in a boat and slow speed operation is common and does not block traffic.


As a sailor, I love the idea of electric or hybrid drive. There are currently several companies that will retrofit electric drive systems in larger sailboats and powerboats. When my current diesel engine dies (probably not for 20-25 years), I would definitely consider an electric drive replacement. On sailboats, the batteries can be charged by the turning of the propeller while under sail, i.e., the electric motor is run in reverse and becomes a generator.

One the subject of lead...
Lead is used widely (and usually quite safely) in a marine environment. Almost all boats with inboard engines have at least 2 but usually 3 or more lead-acid batteries - one for starting and two for house use(electronics, radio, lights, etc.)

Also, my sailboat, has a keel made of 7000 lbs of lead and it's only 33 feet long.

The Coast Guard has very strict rules about cleaning up lead, diesel, gasoline, oil, and other toxic materials from the marine environment in the event that a boat sinks. Boat owners are held liable for all clean-up costs. Therefore, we usually have insurance coverage of at least $500,000 for environmental liability.

Henry Gibson

Eating lead or lead compounds will not usually result in instant demise. Eating a spoonfull of lithium salts may very well achieve that result. The other chemicals in lithium batteries may be more dangerous than lead as well.

Lithium metal itself is too dangerous to handle. Lead is not. The use of lead in batteries can extend more lives than it shortens by other means.

Even the use of lead water pipes achieved that result in Rome two thousand years ago by bringing pure water from the mountains and delivering it to houses and fountains of cities; instead of having the people drink polluted river water as was done in London 1800 years later.

Life is not safe. Helen Keller said. "Security is a superstition."

All risks cannot be eliminated by law or custom, and eliminating some risks may result in worse ones. Having no lead in the solder of circuits used for airplane electronic circuits may result in more failures of those circuits and many deaths. This also applies to cars.

Boats may well be powered by the difference in the temperature of the water at depth and on the surface.

Boats can use windmills for power, They can even use simple sails.


The comments to this entry are closed.