Will high gas prices make electric boats as hot as hybrid cars? St. Paul-based insurer Travelers Cos. is hoping so.High Gas Prices Steering More Toward Electric Boats: Travelers Offers 10% Rate Cut on Insurance
The company is offering discounts of up to 10 percent on insurance for electrically powered boats. Although the boat industry is in a downturn, the demand for electric boats is up, said Chantal Cyr, vice president of Travelers' boat and yacht division.
Sales at California-based Duffy Electric Boat Co. have increased 50 percent this year, said Kevin Kearns, a Duffy executive."The interest in the last 90 days has been historical for the company," he said, citing rising fuel costs as a big reason for the boost.
Electric boats -- which you plug in and charge like a Dustbuster -- cost more than their gas counterparts. They're also slower, topping out at a mere 6 to 10 miles per hour. Although numbers weren't available Monday, electric-powered boats appear to be a tiny fraction of the 866,500 boats registered in Minnesota."A lot of people are moving down to the smaller engines, but an electric boat ... I still don't think it will catch on quite yet," said Jeff Shelton, an owner of Boomsite Marina in Stillwater.
Gassing up on the water costs more than it does on the road, said Shelton. It's the same fuel, but waterside stations can charge more because there is less competition and they don't do the volume a roadside gas station does. Electric boats sell at a 20 percent premium to their gas-powered counterparts,estimates John Farrell, president of Duffy Boats of Minnesota, an electric boat dealer.
But it doesn't take long to recoup the difference, he said, when you consider the cost of winterizing a gas-powered boat and the price you'd pay for gas.A few years ago, he compared the cost of owning Duffy's version of a pontoon to a gas-powered pontoon and calculated that it would take 3 1/2 years to make up the premium you'd pay for the electric-only version."With gas prices now, it's probably gone down to about 2 years," Farrell said.Another selling point: Electric motors are quieter.
When Gorham Builders developed the Lakes of Radisson in Blaine, they highlighted the neighborhood's 170-acre man-made lake, on which only electric motors are allowed."People turned their noses up at that and said, 'Yeah right, what I can get is probably the size of a 5-foot bathtub,' " said Gary Gorham, the company's founder, now retired.
To show them what he meant, Gorham bought a 21-foot electric boat from Duffy.Today, he lives in the Lakes of Radisson development and says his electric boat has plenty of company. Earlier this month, someone counted 54 electric boats, he said."There is absolutely no noise," Gorham said. "People can go right by my dock and I don't even hear them. That's so cool. Thanks to"Nicole Garrison-Sprenger for this.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Used pontoon Boats - High Gas Prices Steering More Toward Electric Boats
Hi gang, Rick Ostler here from North American Waterway bringing you Used Pontoon Boats along with news and views from the boating industry.