In short, the answer is yes.
As renewable energy and battery technology continue to advance, the reliability and efficiency of electric sailboat engines have come on leaps and bounds.
It is now possible to get an electric motor for sailboat, whether refitted or pre-installed, that can propel vessels weighing several tonnes at a decent speed with a very reasonable range. What's more, these improvements are likely to continue as the industry and technology mature and start to operate at scale.
At P&L Lowlands, we've partnered with Elco, the world's most experienced and trust electric boat motor manufacturers to offer you a range of electric sailboat engine options and advise you along the way.
Wind power is a big part of sailing, but motors have long played an important role to move in light winds, help with mooring, and keep onboard electronic systems running.
Using an electric motor for sailboat propulsion as well as for the sailboat's electronics is now increasingly viable, and even offers several advantages over fossil fuel-based engines.
As the need to transition away from fossil fuels becomes increasingly urgent, the fact that using an electric motor for sailboat drastically reduces greenhouse gas emissions is hugely important.
There are some drawbacks to an electric sailboat engine though. For instance, the upfront cost is higher than that of an equivalent-size fossil fuel engine but the gap is narrowing.
Furthermore, in the long run, the costs even out as it is much cheaper to recharge a battery than to fill a fuel tank, especially if you are using renewable sources.
Another perceived disadvantage of the electric motor for sailboat is their more limited range, due to the lower energy density of batteries compared to traditional fuels.
Aside from the motor installation you have, the range varies significantly depending on the sailboat type, the number of people onboard and prevailing environmental conditions, not to mention the amount of throttle you apply.
However, to make an estimate you can make use of Elco's electric motor calculator to get an idea.
In general, sailboats don't need as big a motor as powerboats but what works best?
The approximate size of the electric motor you need for your sailboat can be worked out according to its hull displacement, meaning the weight of the boat. As a rough guide, the equivalent of 4 HP is needed for every tonne and, as a general rule of thumb, you won't need more than a 30 HP electric motor for sailboats.
Every sailboat and the needs of its owner are different though. This is why P&L Lowlands provides advice and a quote free of charge and with no obligation to determine what would work best for you.
We have a range of Elco electric boat motors suitable for a variety of sailboats. Get in touch with us to find out more.