While environmental issues are on the rise, so is electric boating. Newport Electric Boats in Costa Mesa are heavily focusing on electric propulsion systems to benefit not only the environment but your bank account as well.
NEWPORT BEACH— Newport Electric Boats has been making electric propulsion systems since Walt White founded the company in 2020 and has been selling them across the east and west coasts. White is an electrical and systems engineer with a long career involving new product design and development in multiple industries. The system is completely clean, easily installed, and has battery options for day sailing, weekend cruising, and longer journeys.
The motor fits into sailboats in the same space as the original diesel. It mounts to the same motor mounts and couples to the propeller shaft in the same way as the original diesel motor had. This feature simplifies the installation and is familiar to anyone accustomed to working with boats.
“As of today, we only sell systems or electric propulsion,” said Walt White, owner of Newport Electric Boats. “A customer simply purchases what they need from our website, and then we ship them the equipment. We include an installation manual with the package, which is used by their shipyard or marine mechanic during their re-powering process. As our company grows, we’ll eventually offer installation services, but right now, we only provide the systems.”
These electric systems offer significant economic benefits. Similar to an electric car, there are more up-front costs. However, once the system is installed, it begins to pay for itself through fuel savings but also because of the zero maintenance required.
“Also, just about all slips already include an AC power receptacle at the dock, and the cost of electricity is typically included in the slip fees,” said White. “Therefore, once an electric system is installed, there are no ongoing costs. There is no oil to change, no fuel tank to fill, and no other maintenance such as worn impellers, belts, filters, hoses, etc.”
While an electric motor can push the boat as fast as diesel, it’s generally not used for that purpose. Battery power needs to be managed more carefully than diesel fuel. For example, the NEB-25 package sold by Newport Electric Boats will run the motor for six hours while consuming about 1.5 kW (~2HP). More power can be used when more power is needed for reasons like leaving a harbor, fighting a chop, an incoming tide, or a headwind. Likewise, no battery power is used when the wind blows, and the sails can be utilized. When strong winds are blowing, the motor automatically turns into a generator and puts harvested electric power from the propeller dragging back into the battery.
The battery can be charged in many ways. Using the AC receptacle at the dock is the easiest. Having a solar array on the boat is also very useful, mainly to keep the house batteries charged for things like cabin lighting, cooling the refrigerator, running water pumps, or the windlass.
“Solar can also be routed to the propulsion battery, and we do that on our Hunter 33 all the time, but it takes days to recharge the propulsion battery by solar,” said White. “A diesel generator is also a very effective way to recharge while on-the-hook, or at a mooring. Generators are also very effective for boats that want the benefits of electricity but want to be able to motor for long distances.”
The company’s mission is to help make sailing clean and green. Newport Electric Boat is working to replace every fossil fuel system with an electric system as soon as it is practical. For many sailboats, it is convenient to do this today. However, for larger power yachts, it is not practical yet. Nevertheless, with evolving climate change, White wants to give boaters a straightforward path to transition to electric propulsion and help positively impact the environment.
Newport Electric Boat only targets sailboats. Sailboats need a motor for hours at a time, but they also have their sails to help offload some of the work required to move the vessel around. Electric power is an excellent fit for many sailboats today. As battery cell technology and solar efficiencies continue to advance, more marine applications will be able to transition. For now, however, sailboats are an excellent fit, which is White’s focus.
For those interested in purchasing a system, visit the Newport Electric Boat website, where purchasing a system can be done directly. If you want to discuss your repowering project, fill out the contact form on the website, and White will personally respond with questions about the project. It is helpful for Newport Electric Boats to know what engine was originally used in the boat, the make and length of the boat, and how you plan to sail, whether it’s day trips, weekend cruising, or longer journeys.