Halfway Hybrids

 I picked up the Jan edition of Power & Motoryacht (PMY) and saw the headline “Is this the future of boating, or is this?” On the cover there is a picture of a 12m Island Pilot with Solar Panels on the roof.  The issue has several articles on the future of propulsion in our industry including Steyer Motors, diesel electric engines, hybrid units, solar, etc.   I commend everyone of the boat manufactures that are involved in advancing the technology of propulsion in the name of effciency and reducing emissions .  However one has to question attaching such revolutionary systems to  an arcahic propellor, shaft and rudder system.  Why not use a drive system as revolutionary as the propulsion? There is no arguing that a pod type system (i.e Volvo IPS or Zeus or ZF) is more effiecent than traditional propellor and shaft systems. The real future of boating will employ this drive system with one of the propulsion systems mentioned above. Until then we’ll have halfway hybrids.

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4 Responses to Halfway Hybrids

  1. Chris Larson says:

    I completely agree with you, to be completely revolutionary, you must attack both sides of the issue, not just one. The only boats I can see not utilizing pod drives are those that are too small to use them (i.e. Bass Boats and other boats that use Outboards). Perhaps there could be a Outboard pod drive? Possibly 2 smaller outboard-pod drives (100-150hp each) could be attached (with a new rear design for the boat of course) where 1 200-300hp beast of an outboard use to be, bringing joy stick control to these “small” 20 footers. These outboard pod drives could also feature a solar panel on top of the engine casing to be true, full hybrid.

  2. Chris Larson says:

    Sweet, sounds great. Your welcome on the comments and Happy New Year to you as well, 2009 here we come!

  3. Reuben Trane says:


    I appreciate your comments on our new DSe 12m. I would love to use pods for propulsion. We were the first fast trawler to use dual props and then the IPS 600 drive train on our Island Pilot 435s – that model is ONLY available with the IPS pods. The DSe in electric mode uses a very small amount of HP – about 3kW per motor (4 HP). Our research did not turn up any steerable pod drives suitable for this amount of power AND for the 75 HP from the diesels. We ARE using a non-steerable pod, the ZF saildrive. Most likely our next DSe (SPRQ) will use steerable, electric-only, pods with single propellers.

    BTW, our conversations with both Volvo and CumminsMercruiser led nowhere – neither had any interest in participating with this project with either the IPS, Zeus or Axius drive systems.

    We did contemplate designing our own dual-prop, steerable pods, but felt the R&D time and cost to be excessive. We also looked at smaller dual-prop stern drives – this is still under consideration.

    A major part of our DSe has to do with the ability to use renewable energy for more than just propulsion – the solar (plus soon-to-be-added wind) will let you stay on the hook for indefinate periods of time w/o using the diesel/bio-fuel generator at all.

    We’ll have the DSe at the Sea Isle Marina for the Miami show – I’d love to show her to you if you have the time to stop by. Any ideas you may have for a better way to deliver the HP to the water will be appreciated.

  4. Rich says:

    When I get some free time Ill send you an article on an engine and drive that could be used on smaller boats. Pretty cool stuff. Happy New Year and thanks for the comments. I hope your 2009 is a great year!!

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