Serial hybrid drive comes to pleasure boats for the first time

Can we agree that sailboats are the world's most perfect green transportation? I'm going to say yes, and then note that the world's waterways are probably crying for a return to those wind-powered days. While the news from Frauscher Bootswerft doesn't herald a return to pollution-free water travel, it's a least a little bit of good green news for lakes, rivers and seas around the world.

Steyr Motors and Frauscher will introduce the "worldwide first serial Hybrid Propulsion System for pleasure boats" at the boat show in Düsseldorf next month. The companies promise "a new chapter in the history of pleasure boat propulsion" thanks to an electric motor-diesel engine hybrid system that can move a boat at up to 5 knots on EV power. Then, similar to the hybrid system in Lexus hybrids, the electric motor can provide a boost to the system for quick acceleration. While pleasure boats aren't exactly great for the environment, at least with one of these hybrid systems installed they'll be a little less noisy and polluting. I'm all for that.

[Source: Frauscher Bootswerft]

Dec 12, 2007 06:00 ET

Worldwide First Serial Hybrid Propulsion System for Pleasure Boats

GMUNDEN, Austria, December 12/PRNewswire/ -- The long standing collaboration between the Austrian companies STEYR MOTORS ( and Frauscher Bootswerft ( has now resulted in the exciting commercial launch of the worldwide first serial Hybrid Propulsion System for pleasure boats at "Boot Düsseldorf" in January 2008.

Frauscher's extensive experience with electric and combustion engines as well as 80years of boat building expertise, have been of significant value to STEYR MOTORS and the development process. STEYR MOTORS is well known for its low emission, light weight Marine diesel engines with electronic engine management.

The environmentally friendly hybrid solution marks a new chapter in the history of pleasure boat propulsion. It not only assures zero emission and low speed manoeuvring in harbours, noiseless drive on inland waters and nature reserves, but also eliminates the need for separate generator units for other onboard equipment. The "zero emission" electric drive mode allows for a speed of 5 knots using solely electric propulsion and switches to the combustion engine with an easy turn of the ignition key. The ingenious propulsion then gets "boosted" by the electric drive and secures a quicker acceleration into the planning phase lowering fuel consumption and improving response and dynamics.

Significantly reduced maintenance cost and improved ease of service, due to the brushless permanent magnet generator, are further irrevocable arguments that STEYR MOTORS and Frauscher Boats are introducing a serious technological novelty.

STEYR MOTORS perfects the handling with the Steyr Electronic Control Centre (SCC) that regulates the driver's demands and assures convenient monitoring of all operating modes.

The unique configuration of the hybrid propulsion will immediately allow Frauscher to seamlessly equip all of their stylish leisure boats with the sustainable innovation.

Share This Photo X