Often the discussion around electric transportation is limited to road transportation such as cars, bikes, buses and trucks. Ships are often not part of the conversation. The shipping industry accounts for around 940 million tonnes of CO2 worldwide, which equates to 2.5% of the world’s total emissions. Almost 90% of everything we consume is moved by sea, making its footprint rather large.
Evoy is one of the leading companies taking the charge of reducing emissions at sea. Evoy develops longer-lasting, sustainable motor systems. The company’s vision is to deliver an irresistible boating experience by developing sustainable electric motor systems to accelerate the shift to emission free electric boating.
Already this year, Evoy has made some huge strides through partnerships with SAY Carbon Yachts and Nimbus. SAY Carbon Yachts have ordered 400hp Evoy inboard engines, representing the huge growth in the recreational boating market in the past 12 months.
Furthermore, a MOU was signed with Nimbus to evaluate a possible cooperation between the two companies within electric drivetrains. The partnership highlights that the market for electric boats is being seen by boat builders as becoming far more mainstream and less of an afterthought.
MOVE caught up with Evoy CEO, Leif.A.Stavøstrand to talk about some of the influential factors driving electric boating and about some of the exciting projects happening at Evoy.
Q: Tell us about Evoy
A: Based in Florø on west coast of Norway, Evoy is gaining a reputation as the marine industry’s foremost producer and supplier of electric ‘plug and play’ inboard and outboard motors for boats in the 20ft to 50ft size range.
The brainchild of Evoy’s CEO, Leif Stavøstrand, who often shared with his father his intrigue and fascination with emission-free boating and how the idea could, potentially, be brought to market and become reality.
Having climbed the ranks to become 3rd officer on chemical tankers as a young man based in Canada, Leif’s career saw him step ashore back home in Norway, ascending the corporate ladder of an oil supply base, eventually becoming CEO.
A comfortable life lay ahead, but there remained a nagging doubt in Leif’s mind about a career that relied on fossil-fuel technology so, together with his boat-builder father, Leif set about developing their ideas further.
In 2018, a demo boat, EVOY1 was born. The first ever boat with Evoy’s ‘Hurricane’ unit, a fully electrified inboard propulsion system, launched and ‘christened’ by Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, and capable of an unofficial world record of 55 knots speed.
That was the encouraging first start to Leif’s dream of starting his own marine electric engine manufacturing company, but a marathon was about to begin by way of chasing investors, partners, suppliers and building an internal team of experts to continue his dream.
Since those early days, Evoy has grown to become one of the marine industry’s most respected names in electric propulsion.
At the beginning of 2020, the company secured €7.3 million in capital from an ongoing series of investment rounds, with €3 million coming from the EU’s Innovation Council, and this significant injection of capital has since been put to very good use.
Having acquired the financial means to recruit and assemble his team of design engineers and marketeers to drive the business forward, success has been plentiful for Evoy, with the company now offering a full range of inboard and outboard ‘plug & play’ motors from 120hp to 400hp equivalent power.
Q: What are some of the most recent projects you have been working on?
A: Boat manufacturers keen to get a foothold in the electric boat market has meant that, throughout 2022, and into 2023, Evoy has witnessed a surge of interest in their engine and battery technology.
What started out as mainly enquiries from commercial marine customers, such as the fishing industries and research vessels and so forth, has led to an even stronger demand from leisure marine and superyachts.
Significant recent agreements to either purchase Evoy engines outright, or enter into agreements to develop the idea further, has come from the likes of major players in the production boat market, such as Axopar Boats from Finland and Nimbus Boats from Sweden, for example, both of whom are adding full electric alternatives to their existing internal combustion engine models.
Other lower volume producers from the leisure boat sector who have installed Evoy engines include, SAY Carbon Yachts, whose main customer market tends to be the European inland lake boat market, where local law dictates that only emission-free boats can be used in these protected water areas.
Other recent customers have included Goldfish RIBs, Hydrolyft, Tideman Boats, Iguana Yachts, and Viking Norsafe, who manufacture electric rescue boats for commercial shipping and cruise-line customers. Further talks are underway with another well-known cruising holiday company, who dedicate a large part of their marketing based upon offering customers an eco-friendly and sustainably themed cruising holiday.
Beyond the manufacture of engines, Evoy is quietly developing a raft of associated onboard e-technology that will improve and enhance electric boating in the future.
With improved user-interfaces biased more towards the use of visual images and pictures, Evoy’s e-cockpit solution, for example, will become the central hub for receiving and managing all aspects of the boat’s information.
Everything from battery charge status, to navigation, entertainment and safety, the e-cockpit will put the user first with a fully connected experience, linking useful information, such as nearby chargers, for example.
Available now, the Evoy App, offers a fully connected, 24/7 overview of your boat from the palm of your hand.
Q: A huge amount of CO2 emissions come from vessels all over the world. What needs to happen for electric motor systems and electric vessels to be adopted world-wide?
A: There are two main factors holding back the widespread acceptance of marine electric propulsion. One of those is price, and the other has been the limited range that electric can offer over petrol and diesel equivalents.
These factors, along with a restricted number of charging facilities in many boating areas, have created reluctance within some corners of the market.
The good news is that all of these issues are being addressed and we are witnessing steady improvements over time.
As far as range is concerned, the irony is that most private or leisure users normally don’t drive long distances anyway, and cruise happily with batteries as of today. With two batteries, the range can be extended up to 50-100 nautical miles at slow speeds of around 5 knots, and 15-30 nm at 20-30 knots. Extra batteries can be added for increased range. And some boatbuilders are coming up with ultra-light hulls and/or semi- or full-foiling hulls, for even longer ranges.
Batteries get more energy dense every year, with improvements, typically, 5-10% per year, and battery prices are decreasing gradually so that year by year, boat users will get more kWh and less weight and volume for the same cost.
The price of an electric motor including battery system is circa 2-3 times the cost of a fossil motor of the same power output. However, on average electricity is 6-7 times cheaper in terms of how much kw you get out. Depending upon how much you are using the boat, the ROI can be significant – with some customers only about a year. And with electric motor systems you have far less maintenance to worry about, saving you time, hassle, and money.
Regarding the charging infrastructure, companies such as Aqua Superpower and Plug are investing heavily in infrastructure, and we are seeing more and more charging sites opening all the time.
Q: If you had to choose one, what was the single most influential factor driving development of electric vessels?
A: The single most important factor for driving development of electric vessels in the early stage is support and incentives from global governments.
These are the same incentives that we have seen in the car industry over the last five to ten years and, likewise, we expect the electrification of the global fleet of medium and small vessels to grow rapidly in the next few years.
As the technology itself improves overall, especially when it comes to batteries, this self-perpetuating growth will, we hope, be supported by more and more vessels coming into operation over time.
Find out more about Evoy at: www.evoy.no