I was two days at the “boot” in Duesseldorf, the largest fair for water sports
apparently, talking with people about electric drives for our sailboat. Ok, not
only but much of the time and the takeaways are interesting. Most suppliers are
looking at an electric drive in isolation which makes sense given their roots
in lake cruising and given the complexities of warranty. They all seem to see
an electric engine as a direct replacement for a diesel engine without taking
into account that having a massive lithium bank can be used as both, a better
house battery and a drive battery. The most interesting takeaway for me was
talking to oceanvolt and their concept around a 48V battery bank. Their
argument that 48V is the max that anyone can work on without any special
certification made me rethink my decision of building a 24V battery bank and
step it up to drive the engine from at high voltage. I now think of building a
48V bank and drive an engine directly from that. Then step down the house loads
through a DC/DC converter to 24V. The advantages are that there is a lot of
gear that works with 48V out of the box, marine gear but also telco gear as all
the telco equipment runs on 48V DC since ever.
The other interesting new bit of kit comes from Victron. I had a long chat with
them at the boot about their new Cerbo GX that is meant as the new integration
platform for more complex systems. It has two CAN bus ports and is meant to
integrate with third party equipment like BMSs for lithium battery banks and
could be the perfect center piece for our setup.
In general electric boat propulsion had its dedicated part of the fair and it
was definitely a prominent topic. With our size of boat we are between the
obvious and easy smaller conversions and larger commercial ones with the twist
of not having a charging station handy every evening. The nice thing is that we
had a whole range of vendors to talk to and everyone was really excited about
the project and added interesting points of view.
Looking forward to a exciting few months around all this and pretty much back
to the drawing board for the next few days.