Roby and I were fishing on Lake Minnetonka (actually I was fishing, she was reading and taking in the fall colors) when an antique wood boat cruised by. It was beautifully restored and completely silent as it passed. We looked at each other in disbelief and then back at the boat as it sped away across the lake with a nice wake behind it and still in complete silence… I fired up my definitely not silent boat, and we chased down that old woody and spoke to the owner.
Morten told us that his classic 1939 Larson boat is 100% electric powered, which explains the silence. He said that he “has thought a long time about having an electric boat” and that he is not an engineer in any way, but a tinkerer at heart. Morten removed the stock gas engine and replaced it himself with an electric motor powered by lithium batteries.
Following are 3 YouTube videos on his build:
Morten’s elegant 1939 Larson aptly named “Current Boat” is powered by a 9” DC motor with 30 x 3.2v (100v, 80ah) lithium batteries. He plans to switch out the current battery pack to a larger 135v, 200ah pack this summer. That should increase the 5 mile per hour cruising speed range of 4 hours or 30 minutes at 12 miles per hour on plane, to a cruising speed range of 10 hours with a new top speed of about 14 miles per hour.
He said “Having quiet cruising is the biggest draw. I have driven electric cars since I bought the first one in 2008, and I don’t see any reason to ever get a gas car again (the Jeep was the exception, but I needed a tow vehicle). In addition to the electric boat, I also converted two cars to electric; a VW Jetta and a VW Cabrio. All my vehicles and all my tools, lawn equipment (I have solar panels to charge up my electric garden tractor), snow blower, all run on batteries. The only gas powered item I have is my Jeep that I launch the boat with, and a Chevy Volt which is a plug-in hybrid.”
1939 Larson Electric Powered Boat Highlights:
- Very quiet boat, especially at slow cruising speeds and around docks.
- Uses very little energy; 1/4 the cost of gasoline. Plugs in at home; no stops at gas stations.
- No messy oils or gasoline.
- No fumes or danger of explosive fire.
- Original throttle and shifter controls used with the new electrics, makes for original look.
Tesla has nothing on Morten’s 100% electric 1939 Larson!