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RS Electric Boats Sends Pulse 63 RIB to Lake Garda for Italian Trials

23rd February 2023
The Electric Drive on the RS Pulse 63 RIB has a 40kW (continuous) Electric Drive, This, say promoters, provides instant acceleration
The RS Pulse 63 RIB has a 40kW (continuous) Electric Drive, This, say promoters, provides instant acceleration

RS Electric Boats showcased its Pulse 63 recently at Italy's Lake Garda to a consortium of local stakeholders. The consortium aims to see the north end of the lake's events facilitated by an electric RIB fleet by 2024.

The move comes as, according to Alex Newton-Southon (CEO - Technical RS Marine Group), who attended, "the Italians are very much on it when it comes to sustainability."

The Italian consortium includes tourism specialists, mayors of local regions, presidents of communities, and councillors for tourism, and sport, as well as pertinent sailing clubs - all of whom are actively working towards preserving the natural, stunning beauty of the area and the sailing on offer.

While the lake's electrification aim had been widely vocalised, the call to action was taken by Milan-based Negrinautica (one of the largest watersports distributors in Europe). The company has a facility in Lake Garda and a long-standing successful relationship with RS Sailing, and thus, a keen interest in what RS Electric - can offer.

Consequently, Negrinautica set-up a conference of key stakeholders and invited RS Electric Boats. The invitation was extended partly because of RS Sailing's partnership with Negrinautica, which represents some of the most prominent sailing brands in the market, but mainly because the Pulse 63 is leading the field in all-electric RIBs.

"Negrinautica got everyone together to discuss their aims," says Newton-Southon, "and then we gave a presentation on the Pulse, what it stands for and what it can do. Then we took the stakeholders out to experience it. We've been asked to loan the area one for the summer. We will. This will then underpin their confidence that the Pulse 63 is reliable and it is what they think it is."

Newton-Southon says that although the strategy is being led by north part of the lake, in reality it is likely to be adopted throughout. "I imagine they'll want to replace all like for like boats in the area," he says. "The Italians currently allow up to 40hp on the lake - and there's a mixture of everything, as sailing schools, clubs, event organisers and police look to replace their current RIBs. The consortium was really engaged to see the future of electric boats.

"I've spent many years sailing in Lake Garda and to me it’s the best place in the world. To be able to support it with like-minded people with RS Electric is really powerful."

"Motorised navigation has been prohibited in the waters of Garda Trentino since the 1980s and electric mobility is certainly a direction to take: the world of regattas itself is moving in this direction," says Pietro Negri, owner of Negrinautica.

He says the Pulse 63 was chosen to be showcased as: "The electric transmission of the engine guarantees instant acceleration, control sensitivity and hydrodynamic performance on the water. Its simplicity generates low noise, low vibration, low weight and minimum maintenance."

This geographical aim, for sustainable boating at the heart of water-based strategies, isn't restricted to the Italians. Newton-Southon admits that there are other projects RS Electric is looking at, working with environmental agencies and other countries' specific needs.

It can run at speeds of up to 23 knots and a range of up to 100 nautical miles, depending on the average speed. It's 100% electric, uses emissions-free propulsion, and is made in the UK using sustainable materials and incorporates some of the most advanced electric propulsion technology available. It also introduces new benefits to RIB drivers such as increased acceleration, excellent manoeuvrability and low running costs. Team

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About Electric outboard engines

The direct-drive component in electric outboard engines means that the electric motors are incredibly efficient compared to conventional marine combustion motors, operating with considerably higher torque whilst using less power.

Without any need for gears, cooling systems and moving parts the motors are maintenance free, highly efficient and economic to run.

As a result, electric boat engines are becoming more popular on Irish waters as the world transitions from fossil fuels to green energy.

To date, popular electric engine sizes have been trolling engines typically used by fishermen on lakes.

These marine engines are available in models that can be used in fresh water and sea water, for your boat or kayak.

Electric motors are Ideal for fishermen because they are quiet and create little in the way of disturbance 

Popular electric trolling models range from 30lb thrust to 55lb thrust in a range of shaft lengths.

But use is becoming broader now in 2021 and electric outboard engines are being used on small runabouts and RIBS where electric outboard engine sizes are getting bigger.

Outboard electric engines are economical and environmentally friendly. Battery technology is also improving at a rapid rate meaning they are becoming smaller and lighter and run for longer.

Built in hydro-generation provides alternative recharging options whilst under sail are also options meaning the electric outboard now has a home on the stern on small yachts and dayboats too.

As far back as 2014, Torqeedo owner Jack O'Keefe from Cork Harbour told Afloat readers of his sailing adventures in a Drascombe Coaster dinghy and how after swapping from a petrol version the rewards from his new electric outboard engine are less noise, no smells, more stowage, better sailing performance and a motor that can be started by a small child. But it's still not silent, there's a whine he says here 

Popular brands in Ireland are Torqeedo, ePropulsion, Pulsar and Minn Kota but there are more arriving all the time as the technology advances