The Latest EVs Are Taking to the Water
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The Latest EVs Are Taking to the Water

By Jim Motavalli
Wed, Sep 20, 2023 9:35amGrey Clock 4 min

The electric boat market, until now confined to specialty builders, is going mainstream. Just as some central cities in Europe and the U.S. are being closed to internal-combustion cars, so are some lakes and rivers requiring electric power—both for the quiet and the absence of pollution.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Brunswick Corp.’s Mercury Marine division introduced the Avator 7.5e electric outboard motor (US$3,250) for small boats, with 750 watts of power—the equivalent of a conventional 3.5-horsepower unit. Brunswick’s 13-foot Veer X13 boat (US$11,995) will pair with the 7.5e.

The 7.5e electric motor provides quiet and non-polluting cruising.
Mercury Marine photo

And at a New York boat show event Sept. 19 at Chelsea Piers, on Manhattan’s far West Side, the company showed off two larger variations, the 20e (US$8,792) and 35e (US$9,192), with 2,200 and 3,700 watts of power, respectively. The larger of the two offers the power equivalent of a 10-horsepower Mercury outboard.

“Electrification is going to be an important part of the future for marine,” says Dave Foulkes, CEO of Brunswick. “But I think we’ll need a portfolio of solutions, including alternative fuels. E-fuel (gasoline made from sustainably produced hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide) is certainly fascinating.”

Mercury Marine has so far sold 2,000 of its 7.5e electric outboards internationally, Foulkes says. “The 7.5e has only been on the market since April, so we think that volume is high in the marine space. We’re seeing lots of interest at regulated lakes in Europe and other locations.”

The motors are connected to the company’s lithium-ion batteries, made by the Mastervolt division. The 7.5e comes with a basic one-kilowatt-hour battery pack. On the 20e, which has a larger 2.3-kilowatt-hour pack, up to four units can be put together for a half-day of cruising. The 35e comes with a 5.4-kilowatt-hour battery.

Perissa Bailey, vice president and general manager at Mercury Marine, says that Austria, Sweden, and the Netherlands are three countries with major buy-in for the electric outboards. The interest in the U.S. is growing a bit more slowly. “But a segment of the population is looking for more sustainable solutions, and they’re going electric in other parts of their lives,” Bailey says. “Rather than have those early adopters leave our brand we’re coming up with alternatives for them.” Bailey says that two new Avator products will be announced shortly, and that there’s interest in higher-horsepower electric marine motors.

Brunswick is also offering a Navico Fathom e-power battery pack that can replace the polluting generators on larger boats and, through a recent acquisition, the Fliteboard electrically powered eFoil surfboard. The US$13,195 Ultra L model, with a 14-pound lithium battery, can fly above the water at speeds of up to 28 miles per hour. There is 45 minutes of cruising and a one-hour recharge time.

The Avator 7.5e will power small boats, like these Quicksilver inflatables and 13-foot Veer X13 at Chelsea Piers.
Brunswick Corporation photo

The development of electric boats paralleled that of cars, and both had initial heydays around the turn of the 20th century. Wealthy people bought electric launches that were elaborately furnished with velvet cushions and stained-glass windows. The boats were for slow cruising on relatively still bodies of water, such as lakes.

At the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, 55 electric launches built by a company called Elco gave a million rides. Elco launched the Wenona in 1899; it was a 32-foot launch with five-horsepower power that quietly glided at seven miles per hour and could last eight hours on a charge. Wenona is still running on Lake George, and Elco is still in business making electric boat motors. The largest of its units produces the equivalent of 14 horsepower.

Battery advances have made larger electric boats practical. Norway’s MV Ampere ferry, with a one-megawatt battery, can carry 120 cars. Launched in 2022, the MS Medstraum is a zero-emission fast ferry that plies Norwegian waters. It reduces emissions by the equivalent of 30 operating diesel buses in a year.

With their large surface area, passenger boats can also host solar panels that increase electric cruising rangePlanetSolar, a catamaran yacht, circumnavigated the planet in 2012.

All this makes it seem that electric power for boats is imminent, but Tom Hesselink, executive director of the Electric Boat Association of America and a 30-year builder of EV craft in North Carolina, says that the industry is “very transitional right now. How fast it will transition is questionable. I don’t expect to see big changes in the U.S. industry anytime soon, though it’s moving much more rapidly in Europe—where there’s more environmental awareness.”

Hesselink adds that “there’s still a big power-to-weight advantage for gasoline. The motors are fine, but it’s the batteries that are the issue.” Foulkes echoes that sentiment. “Electric power is still not a solution for larger mainstream recreational boats,” he says.


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35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?

We asked readers: Is it worth giving up some potential privacy if the public benefit could be great? Here’s what they said.

Tue, May 28, 2024 4 min

We’re constantly told that one of the potentially biggest benefits of artificial intelligence is in the area of health. By collecting large amounts of data, AI can create all sorts of drugs for diseases that have been resistant to treatment.

But the price of that could be that we have to share more of our medical information. After all, researchers can’t collect large amounts of data if people aren’t willing to part with that data.

We wanted to see where our readers stand on the balance of privacy versus public-health gains as part of our series on ethical dilemmas created by the advent of AI.

Here are the questions we posed…

AI may be able to discover new medical treatments if it can scan large volumes of health records. Should our personal health records be made available for this purpose, if it has the potential to improve or save millions of lives? How would we guard privacy in that case?

…and some of the answers we received. undefined

Rely on nonpartisan overseers

While my own recent experience with a data breach highlights the importance of robust data security, I recognise the potential for AI to revolutionise healthcare. To ensure privacy, I would be more comfortable if an independent, nonpartisan body—overseen by medical professionals, data-security experts, and citizen representatives—managed a secure database.

Anonymity cuts both ways

Yes. Simply sanitise the health records of any identifying information, which is quite doable. Although there is an argument to be made that AI may discover something that an individual needs or wants to know.

Executive-level oversight

I think we can make AI scanning of health records available with strict privacy controls. Create an AI-CEO position at medical facilities with extreme vetting of that individual before hiring them.

Well worth it

This actually sounds like a very GOOD use of AI. There are several methods for anonymising data which would allow for studies over massive cross-sections of the population without compromising individuals’ privacy. The AI would just be doing the same things meta-studies do now, only faster and maybe better.

Human touch

My concern is that the next generations of doctors will rely more heavily, maybe exclusively, on AI and lose the ability or even the desire to respect the art of medicine which demands one-on-one interaction with a patient for discussion and examination (already a dying skill).


People should be able to sign over rights to their complete “anonymised” health record upon death just as they can sign over rights to their organs. Waiting for death for such access does temporarily slow down the pace of such research, but ultimately will make the research better. Data sets will be more complete, too. Before signing over such rights, however, a person would have to be fully informed on how their relatives’ privacy may also be affected.

Pay me or make it free for all

As long as this is open-source and free, they can use my records. I have a problem with people using my data to make a profit without compensation.

Privacy above all

As a free society, we value freedoms and privacy, often over greater utilitarian benefits that could come. AI does not get any greater right to infringe on that liberty than anything else does.

Opt-in only

You should be able to opt in and choose a plan that protects your privacy.

Privacy doesn’t exist anyway

If it is decided to extend human lives indefinitely, then by all means, scan all health records. As for privacy, there is no such thing. All databases, once established, will eventually, if not immediately, be accessed or hacked by both the good and bad guys.

The data’s already out there

I think it should be made available. We already sign our rights for information over to large insurance companies. Making health records in the aggregate available for helping AI spot potential ways to improve medical care makes sense to me.

Overarching benefit

Of course they should be made available. Privacy is no serious concern when the benefits are so huge for so many.

Compensation for breakthroughs

We should be given the choice to release our records and compensated if our particular genome creates a pathway to treatment and medications.

Too risky

I like the idea of improving healthcare by accessing health records. However, as great as that potential is, the risks outweigh it. Access to the information would not be controlled. Too many would see personal opportunity in it for personal gain.

Nothing personal

The personal info should never be available to anyone who is not specifically authorised by the patient to have it. Medical information can be used to deny people employment or licenses!

No guarantee, but go ahead

This should be allowed on an anonymous basis, without question. But how to provide that anonymity?

Anonymously isolating the information is probably easy, but that information probably contains enough information to identify you if someone had access to the data and was strongly motivated. So the answer lies in restricting access to the raw data to trusted individuals.

Take my records, please

As a person with multiple medical conditions taking 28 medications a day, I highly endorse the use of my records. It is an area where I have found AI particularly valuable. With no medical educational background, I find it very helpful when AI describes in layman’s terms both my conditions and medications. In one instance, while interpreting a CT scan, AI noted a growth on my kidney that looked suspiciously like cancer and had not been disclosed to me by any of the four doctors examining the chart.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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