X40 electric outboard released
By Brady L. Kay
X40 electric outboard released
By Brady L. Kay
A few months back I was lured to a Florida home with other members of the marine media where we were promised a glimpse of the future of boating. What we discovered was a zero-emission outboard that truly is ideal for the pontoon industry and well worth our time. The X40 electric outboard from ePropulsion is the equivalent of a 60hp outboard, but weighs 20 percent less than its gas-powered equivalent. Inside the home we were met by ePropulsion CEO Danny Tao, President Tom Watson and other members of the team.

Before getting out on the water, Tao first explained he originally co-founded the company in Hong Kong after he realized there weren’t any electric boats in his area.

ePropulsion battery
“I talked with my professor about the idea and he ended up being my first investor,” explained Tao. What started as an idea in 2012, ePropulsion now has over 360 employees to meet customer demand and the company is always investing in product development to help grow the business.

The X40 is a complete system including integrated electric steering so you won’t see any steering cables, which saves not only space on board, but installation time as well. The new outboard offers 40 kilowatts of continuous power and in testing gave a range of 19.4 nautical miles at 1500 rpm. At 20 kW the X40 reached 10 miles per hour with two hours of run time, and at 40 kW reached 22 mph with an hour run time. The outboard uses a 96-volt battery that has a service life of 5,000 hours. Without controls, the X40 weighs in at 218 pounds.

“The X40 is the next evolution in electric outboards of its size, showcasing the highest level of ePropulsion’s R&D capacity,” added Tao. “We are always looking to innovate, not just to match what is available for standard internal combustion outboards, but to move beyond their capabilities and provide real, enhanced performance, while also providing a quiet, clean and powerful alternative for propulsion.”

boat using an ePropulsion motor
ePropulsion motor
steering wheel in a ePropulsion
On The Water
Behind the Dania Beach home runs a channel of the Dania Cut Off Canal where we were given a chance to run the new X40 on a NorthStar pontoon. Our first mistake was thinking the engine wasn’t on yet because it hardly made any noise. According to Tao, its vibration dampening technology is what allows the X40 to operate on such a quiet level. The motor makes less than 73dBA of sound, which is about as loud as an office environment.

We motored away from home down the canal where we could open up the pontoon and run it at wide open throttle with a boat-load of journalists. Besides the electric steering, also integrated into the engine is the power trim/tilt, electric control unit (ECU) and motor controller into a single unit, allowing boaters to maximize usable space at the stern for work or play.

While underway we tried the three different driving assistance features, Position Hold, Heading Hold, and 360 Motions. Watson confirmed that more features are planned for the future. The X40 provides intuitive and comfortable control that is easy to operate, even for boating novices. The digital helm and smart throttles deliver instant digital feedback and as journalists we had fun taking turns driving.

The manufacturer also offers ePropulsion Link, a connectivity service that provides real-time stats and allows for updates of the engine’s battery. The X40 is compatible with a comprehensive range of accessories, such as the ePropulsion Smart Throttle, Digital Helm, Smart Display, Propellers, G102-100 Battery, Battery Charger, Solar Charger Controller, MPPT and DC-DC.

A Long Journey
ePropulsion was established in 2012 and is led by a team of technology entrepreneurs. Since the company launched its first electric outboard in 2014 it has fast become a force to be reckoned with in the electric propulsion market with a presence across Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

The company set out with a clear mission to become the global leader in marine electric propulsion systems and services. This pioneering, market-challenging brand is at the very forefront of the industry and is recognized across the world for its exceptional product quality, performance, and technological innovations. The first company to launch a brushless, direct-drive electric outboard motor in the market, ePropulsion continues to grow its portfolio.

Smooth Sailing
The X40 offers 40 kW of power with 88.2 percent total powertrain efficiency. Using a proprietary algorithm, ePropulsion has also optimized over 20 key variables to achieve unparalleled hydrodynamic efficiency in the X40’s propeller, yielding smoother rides and even lower energy consumption. According to ePropulsion, the X40 is estimated to save 5 gallons of gas and reduce CO2 emissions by 97.5 pounds per hour compared to a traditional 60hp internal combustion engine.

Built for the marine environment, the X40 includes a safe and reliable 96V electrical platform complying with the latest IEC standards. It is IP67 waterproof and built to last with a minimum service life of 5,000 hours.

At the end of our test we were impressed by the all-new X40 Electric Outboard, that very well could be the future of clean, quiet and powerful marine propulsion. While not for every segment of the boating industry, it’s an obvious fit for the pontoon industry and those on limited horsepower bodies of water. It’s exciting to think about where ePropulsion will go from here.

For More Information
NorthStar Pontoons