Planes, Trains, Automobiles And…Boats?

DEC 10 2014 BY TDILLARD 23

That was the shot that got our attention.  But this was the boat that really made us lust:

The Nedcraft Silverback

The Nedcraft Silverback

How could this not be a complete and total blast?  Ever taken a ride on a fast boat?  What’s the one thing you remember, other than going fast?  Right.  The mind-numbing ear-splitting roar of a straight-pipe big motor belching gas and oil into the water.  This is all that, without, well, all that.

New Electric

New Electric

These vessels are the work of a firm based in Amsterdam called New Electric.  The company does a lot of things, but it’s all centered around electric conversions, and we’re guessing that since they live in a place that’s surrounded by water, boat conversions were a natural.

We wanted to meet these guys simply because of this shot on their splash page. Think they look like a fun bunch of guys?

Electric drivetrains for marine applications are far from new, considering many very large boats and submarines are run with electric motors – however, many of them are “hybrids” – diesel generators making the electricity, typically called diesel-electric drive.  Putting a small electric drivetrain into a speedboat, however, is a fairly new idea.  Considering you want to run high RPM, that would mean you want to run high voltage, and high voltage surrounded by salt water is a combination that will get, and keep your attention if you know what’s good for you.

The company has converted three boats so far, according to the website, but the Silverback is, to our eyes, by far the prettiest.  And yes.  You can say “pretty” when talking about a boat.

The story of the conversion, with photos is here – don’t miss it.  Here are some snippets from that page:

New Electric Silverback started life as the NedCraft Silverback. Built in Amsterdam in 2007, based on the original Bootlegger -The 1920 ‘Palm Bay runabout’ by Nelson Zimmer- this craft originally Sported a 130 HP Volvo D3 Diesel, and was intended to launch a new brand of boats: the NedCraft.

With the advent of the financial crisis in 2008, and with lack of (international) exposure it became apparent this was not to be, and for several years the Silverback languished on dry land, tucked away in a warehouse.

Then in 2013, while the New electric team was looking for a boat suited to the tastes and needs of our prospective customer -Frans Heijn of Admiraal Hein electric saloon boats in Amsterdam.  It was Raymond who stumbled onto this fine craft and in the weeks following all of us, including Mr. Heijn fell in love.

Yeah.  That goes for us too.  Here’s the whole story of the conversion in video form:

…and the best part is learning we’re not the only ones who giggle like little kids when out on the water.

Here are the specs:

Instrumentation – JLD 404 intelligent Ah counter.
Original Vehicle Year/Make/Model2007 NedCraft Silverback
Traction Motor Brand/ModelKostov K11″ 250V
System TypeDC
Number of Motors1
Controller/Inverter Brand/Model1 x Evnetics Soliton 1
ThrottleEvnetics TPS
Battery ManufacturerCALB CA Series
Battery TypeLithium Iron Phosphate – LiFePO4
Cell Size100 AH
Number of Cells90
Total Pack Capacity in kWh33.1 kWh
Charger Brand/ModelTCCH / Elcon PFC4000
Charge voltage320
DC-DC Converter Brand/ModelMeanwell 600W
Maximum Range300 km
Top Speed45 kph

Think it’s fun?  Let’s ask these guys:

Early test reports

Early test reports

(all photos via New Electric’s Facebook page)

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23 Comments on "Planes, Trains, Automobiles And…Boats?"

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What application could be better suited as an EV than a pleasure boat?? Short range, tons of power, environmentally better for the marine life. Maybe some hull redesign for battery weight but that is what engineers are paid to do. Nice post Ted!

300 km is not what I call “short range” for a pleasure boat!

Yes, VERY impressive!

Nice boat. Reminds me of an old Chris Craft woody. Brings back good memories of summers on Lake Monamonock in New Hampshire when I was a kid.

I like the front motor placement.

Any body remember Cracker Jack boats?


In fact, I have been toying with the idea of building an electric Chris Craft replica, or better yet THIS ONE:

That would be a blast

right on Bro!

One of my favorite websites is with Jerry Seinfeld. Bill Burr is riding around LA with Jerry in a ’71 Boss 302 Mustang and he tells this story: ” My brother says to me-“You know Bill, you don’t want to be the guy who owns the boat. You want to be the guy who has the friend the owns the boat. Let him deal with the docking fees, the cleaning the barnacles off and all that sh-t. Because you just show up with the 12 pack and you’re the hero. You get on it, you enjoy it and when you’re done you just – ( smacks hands like, “you’re done!”). LOL. I couldn’t agree more. I own a small runabout and it’s in need of maintenance more often than not – needs to be winterized, stored, insured…and today, it’s trailer is shot and needs re-wiring…blah blah blaaahhh… What a hassle! Here is my kinda fun on water, electric-style: The Hobie Revolution is a tri-brid, lithium battery gets you about 20 miles, you can paddle, or pedal ( more of a kick action that activates flippers on the bottom – called “Mirage Drive” ). Just genius. Poly kayak is nearly… Read more »

My days of waxing, fussing and worrying are ov-errr. They can have it.

I love to look at antiques, but owning one – wherein it actually owns you — no way.

Oh, and by the way – GET OFF MY LAWN!


I agree. As wonderful as boating is, ownership is the biggest hassle in my life.

The Hobie Revolution is an incredible boat. I would have one if it wasn’t so expensive. Heck, I can’t even find a place to rent me one for the weekend.

The two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys his boat… and the day he sells it.

Not sure about the maintenance issues on the replicas, they’re marine plywood construction now, not like old plank style ones.

Still, yes, they’re a lot of work. A good retirement hobby… 😉

A displacement boat is ideal for an EV. The weight of the batteries is of little consequence. Plus, these craft tend to leave a stream of oil in their wake, even with a modern 4-stroke engine.

Planing boats are more challenging, because weight matters a lot more. But it’s still doable.

There is even more of an uphill battle with boats against range anxiety. The general feeling within the boating community is that it is too risky. The cost of running out of power is much higher. In a gas boat, someone can easily bring you a jerry-can of gasoline. In an electric boat, you need a tow.

I can see that in both a cold environment and a massive body of water. We have a lot of crowded lakes down south where a tow is always minutes away. Just like a car, it has to fit the application.
You would think a mini generator or reasonable battery pack would be an easy fix in small bodies of water.

Agreed on all points. I have had an electric boat since 2011 and love it. But I’m on a medium-sized lake (Oneida Lake which is 22 miles long). I also have another means of propulsion on my boat – namely a set of sails.

I have shared my enthusiasm for electric boating on forums and with various other boaters that I know. I’m usually met with a similar response. Most are too frozen by fear of being stranded to even consider it.

For a pleasure boat, it has the same advantage of a BEV car in that it has a full charge every time you leave the dock. You never have to go out of your way to either carry fuel or to visit the overpriced fuel dock.

My brother is on Otsego NY, long but skinny lake. Sails and small electric for him. I think he charges it with a small photo voltaic too.

185 miles range is a “reasonnable battery pack” for a pleasure boat!

FWIW, it says “max range” of 300km. Guaranteed this means idle speed over calm water.

Like driving on the highway versus the city, your mileage will vary. Boats use far FAR more energy to move faster.

For reference, my torqeedo outboard has a max range of about 20-25 miles. I have found that to be accurate, if I travel about 1 knot over glass-calm water. At speed, I’m lucky to get 3 miles. Full speed over rough water, it’s more like 2 miles.

Thank you for injecting a little reality into this discussion, Brian.

This boat is not going anywhere near 300 km at any reasonable speed with a 33.1 kWh.

They should indeed put way more batteries into it to tenfold that especially in a boat where weight is much less an issue then in a plane or a car. 300 KWh would be much more intersting.

I would rather tow a boat than a car. The list of things that can fail on a gas powered boat and require a tow is much longer than simply gas.

Reminds me of this beautiful retro wooden watercraft:

Can’t find their website anymore, so maybe this is discontinued? 🙁


Been thinking about this myself. It would be nice to know weight and cost of the electric vs ICE drivetrain