Unless you’ve been a sailing castaway for the past decade, you would have come across the oddly-spelled name Torqeedo, the German manufacturer of electric outboard propulsion drives.
Torqeedo launched their first electric outboard into the American market approximately 12 years ago and since then have substantially increased their product range, with their largest outboard generating a whopping 80 hp.
But what caught our attention at February’s Miami boat show was not Torqeedo’s outboards, but its new Cruise Fixed Pod system — electric motors housed in aluminum pods. Available in a range of power outputs from 5- to 20-hp, the pods are designed to replace traditional drive trains and saildrive units.
Mounting is simple: the pod is bolted to a reinforced area on the exterior of the boat with the only intrusion into the boat the cable for the 48-volt motor. Range is predicated on the size and weight of the boat and the amount of onboard battery capacity. For many sailors who use their engine simply for getting in and out of their slip or harbor, the pod drive could make a lot of sense. Prices vary subject to the installation, but the drives themselves cost $4,549 (Cruise 2.0 FP, 5 hp-24V); $4,999 (Cruise 4.0 FP, 8 hp-48V); and $8,999 (Cruise 10.0 FP, 20 hp-48V).