• Feb 3rd 2009 at 8:45AM
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Using the same high efficiency and "user first" philosophy they applied to the Aptera 2e, Jason Hill of Eleven and Nathan Armstrong of Motive Industries have done the impossible and re-made the pontoon boat into a thing of environmentally-sound beauty. On behalf of the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company, the engineering and design team has taken the boat builder's signature craft, the solar-powered Loon, and re-thought it from stem to stern, water to sky. The result is a breakthrough design that incorporates full functionality and flexibility.

Due to the core composite construction, its twin hulls are practically puncture-proof and are now integrated into the deck, giving it unbeatable rigidity, yet keeping the weight low. The solar panel-bearing SunRise™ roof system is made of the same material and can lower itself down to the top of the rails to create a convenient compact package when it's time to put the boat on a trailer. The 22-foot craft will feature a flexible activity area with innovative storage spaces and can come with side panels made from a variety of eco-materials including bamboo, natural fibers and recycled plastic. All this and we haven't even touched on one of its coolest features yet. Hit the jump to see what that is and get some technical details.

One of the things we really like about the Loon is its vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability. Once its AGM batteries have been replenished, the power generated by the 1000W solar panels could be fed back into the grid, displacing carbon while sitting idle dockside or parked next to your house. All this and no fuel leakage worries.

Performance-wise, the Loon seems capable of fulfilling most peoples inland waterway boating needs. While we don't have exact range figures, we estimate the new design could travel about 35 miles a day with a top speed in the neighborhood of 7 knots. Placed inboard, 3 feet forward of the aft deck to allow swimmers to easily re-board, the electric motor has a manatee-friendly shroud around the propeller that increases efficiency and thrust. Production is said to begin this summer at the Buffalo, New York factory that the company is currently setting up. We look forward to bringing you footage of the Loon in action shortly after it hits the water.

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      • 8 Months Ago
      Good to know people are working on electrifying small watercraft. Even if this particular boat isn't my cup of tea, it seems like a good way to get your feet wet in electric boats.

      I love watersports, and I love power boating, but I'm a little concerned by how much gas the activity guzzles. Ski boats make SUVs look like economy cars. The weight and energy density challenges facing the EV industry are thus far worse for anyone wanting to make an electric boat. And if you think the charging infrastructure for EVs is poor to nonexistent, just imagine trying to fill your boat with electrons in a place like Lake Powell. (On the other hand, a solar boat like this one would be fantastic in such an environment.)

      Yet, and electric motor would make for an incredible ski boat. Full low-end torque and a wide RPM range would produce a combination of quick hole shot and high top speed unheard of in ICE-powered boats. There would be no clunky transmission, no winterization, hardly any maintenance at all.
        • 8 Months Ago
        I've been following Monte's Loon project for a few years. I built our 1st prototype in 1998 and are releasing our newest SolarSpirit 21 in late June 2014. All these years of effort have allowed us to make a very flexible use boat with higher Solar charging rates and convenience items. Having made a rock solid easy to use boat we now look forward to 'polishing' it out. SolarBoatsNow.com
      • 6 Months Ago
      • 6 Months Ago
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