Battery Selection and Installation for Electric Boats

The animation shows the main components for a solar electric boat installation: A solar panel array. a charger, a battery bank, a speed controller and an electric motor.

Battery Selection

There are a number of lead acid battery types applicable for general electric Boat applications. While there have been some applications using Nickle Metal Hydride and Lithium Manganese batteries, they are mostly limited to low power applications where weight is critical, because of high cost.(example: Lithium Manganese batteries are integrated into the motor housing of some torqeedo outboards).

The Deep cycle lead acid batteries can be divided into Flooded cell, Gel Type and AGM (Adsorbed Glass Mat) types. All Gel and AGM batteries are valve regulated batteries generally referred to as sealed. Flooded cell batteries are also available as sealed batteries. Recombinant Vent Plugs are available for regular flooded cell batteries giving them the benefits of valve regulated batteries. Gel and AGM batteries are much more expensive than the Flooded cell batteries.

I did a survey of 12 electric boat companies recently (Nov. 2008) to see what type of battery is used most frquently for electric powered boats. Trolling motor powered boats were not included in the survey. Trolling motors are most often powered by size 27. 12 volt flooded cell batteries. The following section provides the popularity of the battery type in my survey with the benefits and disadvantages of this type of Battery and the sizes generally employed

Battery Installation

Some important Battery Installation consideration for Electric boats

Battery Maintenance

Some important Battery Maintenace considerations

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Created and maintained by Jim Kerr
Last Updated: Dec 22nd, 2008