Converting a direct drive ski boat from gas to electric

cougfancougfan Posts: 366 Crazy Baller
Saw an electric Nautique wakeboard boat at the Seattle boat show this week. This got one of my ski partners and me to thinking what would it take to convert a direct drive ski boat into an electric version.
I remember seeing a thread earlier on BOS about an electric ski boat but don’t think it was a converted boat.
Anyone have any info on this subject?
My ski partner and I are up for the challenge. All we need is more info on the subject to see if it is feasible and or worth doing.
We both are mechanical, have the shop space and the time. He is also retired from Boeing in the robotics department.
Just thought it would be cool to have an electric ski boat on our ski lake.
Thanks in advance for any info😁
eleeskiALPJrMISkierDavidNgsm_peterrodeconJordansantangelopl0tz
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Comments

  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,705 Mega Baller
    http://www.ltsmarine.com/EN/
    First Nautique ever converted was by LTS marine.
    My ski finish in 16.95 ...but my ass is out of tolerance!
  • DavidNDavidN Posts: 544 Crazy Baller
  • HortonHorton Posts: 31,482 Administrator

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 31,482 Administrator
    @cougfan You say electric Nautique? You mean from the factory standard equipment electric?

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  • MuskokaKyMuskokaKy Posts: 457 Crazy Baller
    edited February 2020
    Doesnt anyone remember this? i thought it was pretty cool when i first saw this video in 2013.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2UbTAbLadB0
  • HortonHorton Posts: 31,482 Administrator

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    jayskicougfan
  • PullhardPullhard Posts: 50 Baller
    Recommend finding a wrecked 100% electric car like a Nissan Leaf and get the motor and battery out of it. Will take some ingenuity and fabrication to figure how to mount the motor. Next problem will be where to put the huge battery. Would also be some concerns about a large battery in the boat and coming in contact with water, fire concerns, and electrocution . Most also people don't know lithium batteries are highly flammable. Electric motors have huge torque and rev. Will need to figure out how to gear the motor down and what type of prop to use. Finally, the charge only last for a short while so recharging will also be a concern.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,865 Mega Baller
    @Pullhard so no problem, right? Will keep putting gas in mine.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
    HortonSteven_Haines
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,968 Mega Baller
    @Pullhard think a leaf would have the necessary power? A basic leaf is like 150 hp. Maybe in something like an old stars and stripes but I'd be concerned it wouldn't give you want you wanted.
    Hortonozski
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,026 Mega Baller
    edited February 2020
    @Horton, I was told approx. $300k for that 210, or only about a $200k upcharge over base 6.0l 210.
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,508 Mega Baller
    Hey ! Dont forget cable skiing is electric..
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.


    jetpilotg4
  • cougfancougfan Posts: 366 Crazy Baller
    @Horton the Nautique was straight from the factory. Should have gotten pics but was too busy asking about the boat ☹️
    We are thinking of using an older prostar or Ski Nautique as a donor boat and swaping an electric motor for the gas motor. Need to figure out the battery issues among other things.
    We need projects in our retirement😁
    Bruce_Butterfield
  • HortonHorton Posts: 31,482 Administrator
    @cougfan as long as you are going in knowing it will be a huge money pit.

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  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,968 Mega Baller
    I've been pondering this for a while. There is an old nautique atom skier so incomplete it will never get restored. An I do feel it would be a very cool electric ski boat. Small enough to run on a lower power cheaper motor. Atom skier appropriate in name for an electric boat. And since it's not a restoration the ability to use modern epoxy sealers and finishes would make the hull work easy. The power train being 15K has been off-putting.
    cougfanALPJr
  • sixballsixball Posts: 280 Baller
    I think one of the first things is to look at the weigh distribution on the current boat and understand somewhat close what you may wish for weight distribution. would not want to spend the time doing the build and then finding the wake is crap from the hull not sitting in the water proper. Then would you weight it with sacks to get a surf or board level wake? Once you understand that you will have a good Idea on the start to placement of the new gear. The battery's should give you a good start as the motor I would think will be lighter. You may need to think of drive shaft angle in that equation. Not going to be easy to make the hull work better then the manufacture. If you are going to do it the need to get it close is a must in my mind.
    cougfan
  • cougfancougfan Posts: 366 Crazy Baller
    We are in the early planning stages of this project! Seeing the electric Nautique boat at the boat show kind of sparked an interest in us. We know that it won’t be easy or cheap that’s why l started this thread to get all the info we can. I know of an older Ski Nautique that can be bought for cheap to use as a donor so that would be a start. Still researching the electric motor and battery set up
  • WayneWayne Posts: 582 Crazy Baller
    My company has done EV conversions for OEM demo vehicles. Prices range wildly depending on the level of integration but the best advice I can give you is make the powertrain work before you buy a boat to put it in. The biggest hurtle will actually be the battery pack, charging and the Battery Management System. You can buy an inverter for a 3-phase permanent magnet motor from SemiKron and characterize it to a motor pulled out of a wrecked EV or use a take out electric axle from a car (Tesla model 3 axles run around $5k). Or buy an aftermarket inverter/motor from a Chinese company.

    Horton is very correct this will be a money pit. Material costs for EV conversions, even using donor vehicle parts will go over $20k very quick. Add in the extra bits and a rapid prototype control unit to manage everything and $50k will be in the rear view mirror and $100k soon approaching.
    bishop8950Jordan
  • cougfancougfan Posts: 366 Crazy Baller
    I know a retired Tesla engineer who opened up a used electric car / repair shop with his son. Will be checking with him about this project. Should be a great source of info and maybe parts. Stay tuned
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 548 Crazy Baller
    @Wayne Yikes - that's an expensive retirement project. There's a reason Nautique did this in a wakeboard boat first - the weight penalty for a battery that lasts long enough for a ski is similar to fat sacks. @cougfan Would you consider a wakeboard project? Perhaps a Air Nautique from the 90's could be had for cheap?
  • lakeho26lakeho26 Posts: 44 Baller
    Could the added weight of the battery’s be compensated with a lighter weight hull design? Such as the 176 at 2250lbs manufacturer’s weight rating of course but still lighter then current slalom boats. I understand current hulls are constructed differently with liners and different stringer designs but could a slalom tug be built lighter at today standards to compensate for the electric drive unit, including the battery, control, inverter electric motor.
  • lakeho26lakeho26 Posts: 44 Baller
    I guess my comment above was slightly off topic but maybe starting with a 176 or similar weighted hull would be a good starting point!
  • HortonHorton Posts: 31,482 Administrator
    edited February 2020
    @lakeho26 as modern boats have gotten wider and have a larger wetted surface area the acceptable weight range has gotten heavier. The ProStar has the largest wetted surface area of the current slalom boats so it could take the most additional weight with the least penalty. A smaller / lighter boat like a 196 would be much more impacted by the additional weight.

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  • cougfancougfan Posts: 366 Crazy Baller
    @KRoundy not really interested in converting a wakeboard boat. The Wednesday night crew want to use the boat on our private ski lake for our Wednesday night skiing. Usually ski for 2-3 hrs so hoping we can get enough battery life for this. Like I said earlier this project is in the very early stages of research/development
  • chrislandychrislandy Posts: 277 Solid Baller
    I think it's a great idea, especially if you only have a few hours running at a time with a long break between,

    I was thinking about it myself, but as I repowered mine last year it's thrown that idea out the window for a few years!

    think tesla motor rather than nissan leaf.

    Weight: not an issue IMO

    LT-1 engine is circa 300kg wet, gearbox is approx 50-70kg = 350kg
    Full tank of fuel, 100l, approx 100kg inc tank

    Totoal 450kg

    Tesla motor is about 140kg (everything bar batteries) - direct drive to shaft as it has a gearbox in it
    Tesla batteries are about 25kg/unit, say 10 units = 250kg (aparently typical for a 200 mile charge range in an EV)
    so thats about 390kg

    So that leaves about 60kg (130lb) weight saving, or another 2-3 batteries.

    You can unlimited water cool so overheating is not an issue, parts look to be about $30k from EVWest sso you could probably source cheaper if time is on your side
    cougfanReggieO
  • lakeho26lakeho26 Posts: 44 Baller
    @Horton that makes sense and understood. Would a smaller wetted surface area of a 176 or similar weight ratio to wetted surface area boat, make it feasible for an electric drive unit to be efficient enough due to the lessened load on the drive unit to work? Or is the added weight to a smaller wetted surface area boat going to cause as much drag/load as a similarly weighted larger wetted surface area boat?

    Understanding of course that the wake might not be optimal due the boat being designed with a different weight in mind.
  • PullhardPullhard Posts: 50 Baller
    edited February 2020
    Interesting photos and videos. That boat is full of batteries....Would also like to hear what it sounds like. Electric motorcycles and other electric vehicle conversions have a strange whining sound. Will take some getting used to not having the sound of a big V8 onboard. Would also be interesting to see how a perfect pass would work with an electric motor.

    http://www.ltsmarine.com/english/lts-water-ski-boat/
  • cougfancougfan Posts: 366 Crazy Baller
    @Pullhard if you will miss the sound of a V-8 just get a recording of one and play it on your 8- track while you are skiing/driving😁🤣🤪 Seriously wouldn’t Zero Off work in an electric boat?
    Lots of questions left to answer but the list is getting shorter thanks to all of the responses 👍
    Kimbymon
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 548 Crazy Baller
    edited February 2020
    This year-old winter thread had lots of discussion and links in it:
    https://ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/20830/are-we-closer-to-an-electric-tow-boat/p1
    cougfan
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