DUESSELSDORF – Dutch boat systems maker Vetus used Boot Duesseldorf to unveil a range of low-maintenance electric propulsion systems for small boats. The three systems – the EAIR04024, EAIR040 and EAIR060 – offer outputs of 4kW at 24 volts, 4kW at 48 volts and 6kW at 48 volts respectively. Vetus says that is ideal for new construction or repower projects for a variety of hull types of up to around 8m (26ft)
Air-cooled electric propulsion systems can offer certain vessels a range of benefits over water-cooled variants. Air cooling is unaffected by blocked cooling water inlets. Also, air-cooling systems are simpler: a lightweight arrangement of fan and ducting needs less maintenance than a water-cooled pump, pipework and strainer. And in the cold of winter, air cooling prevents the freezing of pumps or pipes.
The Vetus E-line Air models weigh only 65kg. Using existing transmission hardware reduces electrification project costs and compact dimensions ensure that in repowering situations, the E-line Air usually requires less engine space, including an allowance for cooling air circulation than the unit it is replacing.
Fitting an E-line Air motor is easy: mount the motor, align the shaft using the adjustable Swap&Go brackets plus specialized motor mounts and connect a battery pack.
As E-Line motors are both a modular and fully integrated design, later upgrading is straightforward. Key components, such as the motor controller, are integrated in the unit, correctly specifying a system and ensuring cross-component compatibility is easy.
Vetus also offers a selection of AGM deep-cycle and lithium batteries. The E-line Air motors are 1:1 direct-drive so the prop always spins at the same speed as the motor. Direct-drive electric propulsion systems offer near-instantaneous forward/reverse shifting.
With the Vetus E-line Air models, propeller speed can be controlled down to zero at the tip of the skipper’s fingers. The shift between forward and reverse is an instantaneous flick of an electronic controller. These models feature active engine braking.
Running out of range can be an issue. The air-cooled EAIR04024, EAIR040, and EAIR060 are compatible with NMEA2000 solutions via the Vetus CanV2N CANverter and the Vetus CAN-bus communication system. The E-line Air series is quiet and, like all Vetus boating products, comes with a 3-year warranty.