The Best Electric Outboards

The Best Electric Outboards

For your convenience, we've chosen the best outboards currently available on the market and compared them as we think they should be. So, you can feel the difference between them, plus gain some insights into what they can and can't do.

Torqedo or ePropulsion 

The Torqeedo Travel 1103C 3HP electric outboard motor was introduced in 2018 METS. The previous model, Travel 1003C, features a reduction gear that makes a whining noise at almost any speed. The Travel 1103C is the first direct-drive outboard motor manufactured by Torqeedo, and it thoroughly resolved the noise issue. 

From day one, ePropulsion has been adopting direct-drive technology.

They unveiled Spirit 1.0 at 2014 METS, 5 years ahead of Torqeedo with outboard direct drive technology.

But, which one should you buy? Let's find out!

 

Runtime

When it comes to choosing between Torqeedo Travel 1103C and ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus, it's essential to consider what you need most in an outboard motor. For example, if you're looking for a motor that will last longer than 50 minutes at full throttle, then you should choose Spirit 1.0 Plus with a runtime of 75 minutes at full throttle.

 

Battery life

The Torqeedo Travel 1103C has a 915Wh battery, while the ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 has a 1276Wh battery. The integrated battery of the Spirit 1.0 Plus is 39% larger than that of the Travel 1103C, which is a great advantage for this motor. Plus, Spirit 1.0 plus battery can float, so you don't have to worry about losing it in the water.

  • Check this video

https://youtu.be/p95q1ozzxMw?t=25 

 

Installation Process 

  • Spirit 1.0 plus

Installation of the Spirit 1.0 Plus is a breeze since it's as simple as cinching the outboard, flipping open the tiller, and securing the battery with a latch! Watch this video from 3:01.

  • Travel 1103C

Installation of the Travel 1103C is a bit trickier because the tiller isn't built into the motor and requires a separate locking pin to secure the battery -- not a latch like the Spirit battery. Watch this video from about 6:19.

 

There are three steps: 

First, you have to hook up the tiller to the motor, then you hook up the tiller communications cable to the motor, and finally, you use a locking pin to secure the battery.

The installation process for the Torqeedo Travel 1103C is relatively straightforward. Still, it does require a few more steps than the installation process for the ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus. After experiencing just how easy installing the Spirit 1.0 Plus is, you're going to know you want one!!

 

External Battery

The ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus operates at 48V. It can be used with an adapter to convert its proprietary connector into O-ring, two-terminal connectors compatible with external lithium and lead-acid batteries.

It's why the Spirit 1.0 Plus has plenty of battery options to extend its range. The official recommendation is the LiFePO4 E-Series batteries, available in three capacities of 2 kWh, 4 kWh and 9 kWh for $1.50/unit.

This excellent Spirit Plus add-on is one way to fly!

The Travel 1103C is not compatible with external batteries and has a 29.6V operating voltage, So you can't make a 12V battery pack out of external batteries. But the Spirit 1.0 Plus does!

NoteThe capability to charge external batteries is highly beneficial for rental boats that require a long battery life, which can be accomplished by hooking up the boat to an external battery.

 

Charging Time

 If you're looking for a battery that charges faster, the Spirit 1.0 Plus is the way to go. It can be set in 8.5 hours, while the Travel 1103C takes 10.5 hours to charge fully.

Note: Normally, it takes shorter times to recharge because most people don't use their batteries past 10 percent capacity.

The 10.5-hour charge time on the Travel 1103C may mean that there is a slight chance that the battery will be empty by the time you're ready to depart in the morning. Still, with the Spirit 1.0 Plus, this one seems to be a lot less likely to occur.

Solar Charging 

If you're an avid traveller, you know that it can be challenging to find a power source while on the go. But the solar charger on the Torqeedo Travel 1103C is only 50W, which is too small and not practical for charging while you're on the go. The solar charger on the Spirit 1.0 Plus is 180W, which is perfect for charging while you're on the go! 

The price tag for a Spirit solar panel is only 99 bucks, and you could easily pick up some third-party solar panels at a more reasonable price on Amazon. For the Torqeedo Travel 1103C, your only option is a 50W solar charger bundle for $749, and you can't get the solar panel with the solar charger.

Power Cable Connector

What's the most fragile part of a portable electric outboard? We'd say it's the power cable connector. That is, you have to hook up and disconnect dozens, perhaps even hundreds of times a year.

The most common complaint about the old Spirit 1.0 is that the power connector breaks easily. In order to fix this, ePropulsion partnered with Amphenol and co-designed. It features an innovative new power connector constructed from premium grade stainless steel and treated with PVD technology. The reliability of the power cord connector is what sets the two apart what sets these two electric motors apart, as the connector on the Torqeedo is made of engineering plastic while the one on the ePropulsion is made of stainless steel. 

When it comes to durability, electric outboards have the upper hand. This is because they have a longer service life than four-stroke outboards, and it's easy to make a replacement when necessary. Large electric outboards use Anderson connectors, which is a significant advantage for buyers.

Portable electric outboards like the Torqeedo Travel 1103C and ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus don't use Anderson connectors but instead utilize an exclusive one-terminal connector for quick, easy connection. When it breaks, waiting around for parts is a painful process, and not every dealer has the skills to make a replacement.

The life expectancy of the power connector is the one detail you can't overlook before making a purchase.

Tiller: Draw

When using the motor to power a boat, it's essential to have a tiller that's easily foldable and integrates with the engine, so it's easy to carry and set up.

The problem here is that the tiller on the Spirit 1.0 Plus can only swing out to 38°, which can be challenging when you have limited space at the stern of your boat. The tiller on the Travel 1103C can swing out to 70°, which is more user-friendly when lifting the motor up.

Special note: The tiller on the ePropulsion Spirit is a bit tricky to use, but they are redesigning it and should have a new model out in Q4 2020.

Lower Unit

With the most significant change from the 1003C to the 1103C being the direct-drive motor, it's easy to see why Torqeedo went with this design for their first model. The size of the lower unit gets more extensive, making it 27% longer and 14% wider than the Spirit 1.0 Plus, which means more water drag.

The base unit on Spirit 1.0 Plus is all aluminum, while the base unit on The Travel 1133C is made of a combination of engineering plastic and aluminum alloy.

Mobile App Draw

You know what's not fair? The fact that you can't find the GPS or mobile app on the Spirit 1.0 Plus, but it's there on the Travel 1103C! The 3 HP inboard is just going to allow you to cover a short distance at a low speed. There is no big deal about knowing the GPS course and rate at 3HP. What's the point of spending more money on a GPS tracking App when you're going to get the same, or better, results from an expensive one?

Cost

United States:  

  • Spirit 1.0 Plus - $1,999, 
  • Travel 1103C - $2,699. 
  • Difference - 700

Europe: 

  • Spirit 1.0 - €1,899
  • Travel 1103C - € 2,199.

 

Conclusion 

If 2022 is when you're looking to buy a new electric boat motor, the Spirit 1.0 Plus is the way to go! It has 50% more runtime than the Travel 1103C, is $700 cheaper, and has features like a floating battery, 180w solar charger, and fold-down tiller!

 

Comparison 

 Travel 1103C Spirit 1.0 Plus
Horsepower 3HP 3HP
Weight  17.3 kg / 38.1 lbs 19.3 kg / 42.5 lbs 
Full-throttle runtime 50 min 75 min
Integrated and Foldable Tiller No Yes
Tiller Angle 70° 38°
Battery Capacity 915Wh 1276Wh
Floatable Battery No Yes
External Battery Compatibility No
Solar Charging 50W 180W
Lower Unit Size (Length) 323 mm / 12.7 254 mm / 10
Lower Unit Size (Diameter) 124 mm / 4.9 108 mm / 4.3