Marine Company Brings BMW Battery Tech to the Water

Torqeedo will use BMW battery power for its marine applications.

Timothy Healey
    Jul 16, 2017 12:00 PM  PT
Marine Company Brings BMW Battery Tech to the Water
author: Timothy Healey    

Imagine you're out on the water, slicing through the waves in your boat.

And that boat is powered by – electricity?

Well, thanks to the continued growth in electric cars, and BMW's experiences with the powertrain tech, it's not a far-fetched idea. It could be a reality soon.

The idea of cars that can be turned into boats isn't new, and there have been some successes over the years, but this is different. It's not an amphibious car – rather, it's new-car tech finding a home in marine usage.

BMW Battery Goes Marine

It's not actually a BMW boat, of course. Instead, it's BMW tech that's being used to power a standard marine application.

Marine drive system manufacturer Torqeedo is now using BMW battery technology from its i3 range-extended electric to offer emissions-free boating. Reported to offer the highest energy density in boating, the BMW battery can offer up to 160 horsepower in this use. The tech will soon be applied to yachts, ferries, and water taxis.

"We see the decision by Torqeedo to use BMW i high-voltage batteries for their Deep Blue propulsion system as further evidence that we can build the drive systems of the future without any need for compromise on performance, innovation and sustainability," Dr Alexander Kotouc, Head of Product Management BMW I, said. "This successful transfer of the latest automotive technology to the water is testament to the value of the integrated approach that underpins BMW i."

Torqeedo is going to combine BMW i's lithium-ion batteries with its most-powerful range of motors. These motors power everything from inboard and outboard units to hybrid systems.

"The BMW i high-voltage batteries are a model of extraordinary reliability and performance for electric mobility," Christoph Ballin, co-founder and CEO of Torqeedo, said. "They allow us to deliver state-of-the-art electric propulsion technology and integrated energy management for leisure craft and commercial marine applications."

Boaters May Save on Fuel

Torqeedo's current powertrains aren't cheap, and it's likely that the addition of BMW's battery tech will command a price premium over what's currently available. That said, gasoline for marine uses is also expensive – per-gallon prices are usually a bit higher than what's seen for cars – and gas-powered boats often have large tanks. It's one reason why boating is an expensive hobby. So boaters may end up with significant savings in the long run.

Boats already spend a lot of time in docks, and it's not unusual to see them plugged in while other electric systems charge. So it wouldn't be shocking to see them getting their batteries recharged while docked.

Boaters could save on fuel costs and fewer pollutants could be pumped into the environment. Sounds like a win-win.

High Snobiety