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Canada’s Vision Marine sets world electric boat speed record

Canada’s Vision Marine Technologies Inc. has helped set a new world record for the fastest electr...

IMAGE: Vision Marine's V32 with E-Motion twin motors

The record-breaking V32 in action, equipped with twin E-Motion motors. (Courtesy Vision Marine Technologies Inc.)

Canada’s Vision Marine Technologies Inc. has helped set a new world record for the fastest electric boat, surpassing the previous record by over 30 kilometres per hour.

The event took place at a performance boat competition at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, where a crowd of over 100,000 watched current F1 Powerboat world champion Shaun Torrente pilot the boat, dubbed V32.

It blazed across the lake at 175.4 km/h (or 109 miles per hour), beating the previous record of 142.5 km/h held by Jaguar with its V20E.

The V32, a 32-foot catamaran, was constructed by Vision Marine (VMAR-Q) in partnership with Miami-based Hellkat Powerboats. It was designed specifically by the company’s engineering team and Torrente to house a pair of Vision Marine’s E-Motion electric outboards.

The E-Motion is a fully electric, 180 horsepower (135 kW, with two 35 kWh battery packs) powertrain system that offers zero emissions, and according to Nurse is both noiseless and requires 90 per cent less maintenance than the average internal combustion engine. Vision Marine’s website states it can be fitted into any six- to eight-metre boat.

Vision Marine is based in Montreal and was founded in 1995 as the Canadian Electric Boat Company.

“Our objective was to have the world record. But more importantly, we wanted to showcase what electric power can bring to the marketplace, to the consumer that’s on the water that really has this mindset (of) electric power (being like) my granddad’s electric golf carts on the water doing five, six miles an hour,” said Bruce Nurse, investor relations head for Vision Marine.

“We wanted to get over that. We wanted to showcase, not just your electric vehicles on the road, but now electric on the water with our outboard motor.”

Breaking the record

Other companies that were a part of building the V32 and breaking the world record include the Finnish Nextfour Solutions Ltd., which partnered with Vision Marine on the vessel’s monitoring systems, while Pat Weissman of Weissman Marine in Costa Mesa, Calif. engineered the outdrives.

Vision Marine also designed a unique battery pack for the boat in collaboration with Richmond, Calif.-based Octillion Power Systems.

Torrente was in charge of rigging, setting up and testing the V32 in Florida over the course of several months.

“It was always going to be the 32-foot, wide-body catamaran with our twin E-Motions on the back. But like anything . . . and this is new technology that is coming to the waterways, there’s always obstacles, there’s hurdles, there’s issues here and there,” Nurse said. “That’s the benefit of having a very strong partnership and engineering team to solve a lot of those issues.”

Last year at the Lake of the Ozarks, Vision Marine installed an E-Motion motor into its 22-foot Bruce 22 and broke the lake record, reaching 78.8 km/h.

At that point, the company knew it wanted to return and break the record. It spent the next year preparing to do so.

Future of the E-Motion

Vision Marine’s technology is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Canadian Coast Guard and meets the American Boating and Yacht Council safety standards as well as the European Union’s imported manufactured standards.

In July, Vision Marine entered into a partnership with Groupe Beneteau in France — which owns 17 boating brands globally. The partnership will integrate E-Motion into many of those brands across Beneteau’s portfolio.

“This is something that we have been working on (since) really 2014, 2015 to build a fully electric outboard motor that we can offer to the boat manufacturers,” Nurse said. “We’re not offering it direct to the consumer. We’re going through the boat manufacturers, who then go through their dealer network and sell a model with our E-Motion on the back to the consumer.”

The first collaboration will be the world’s first fully electric powerboat, the 22-foot Four Winns H2 OB runabout. The companies will present the Four Winns H2 at IBEX this September in Tampa.

In 2021, Beneteau employed 7,500 people around the world at 22 production sites, reporting $1.6 billion in revenue. It boasts 180 recreational boat models and produces over 10,000 vessels per year.

“It’s the first model that Beneteau elected to bring to our shop so we could assemble our E-Motion on it.” Nurse explained. “We’re just gradually going to move into the other models along with Beneteau and the other boat manufacturers that we’ll announce in the near future.”

Beneteau will be delivering products to consumers by spring 2023.

Vision Marine’s investor presentation states in 2020, outboard motor sales rose for the ninth consecutive year, and up 17.6 per cent year-over-year to 329,500 units. By 2025, Nurse states that number is expected to exceed 1.5 million outboard motor units.

A report from Allied Research cited in the investor presentation states the global market for electric boats is expected to reach $21.7 billion by 2035.

“Our objective is not to get 50 per cent, not even 20 per cent,” Nurse said. “If we get to three, four per cent of that (U.S.) market, it’s a significant win for the company and puts us at a tremendous market capitalization for our stock.”

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