The world is moving increasingly towards an electric future with electric cars, busses and even planes… but what about boats? We thought we would put the Polycraft Tuffy tender to the test with an E-propulsion Spirit on the W.Coast of Scotland to see what the hype is all about.
To start with, the E-Propulsion electric engine is surprisingly light with a detachable battery to save you lugging a heavy outboard up and down the beach or pontoon. Within seconds the engine can be attached on the transom just like any petrol outboard engine and the battery clipped into place.
Another appealing factor to the e-prop is that there is no fuel tank nor line to clog up the cockpit of the Polycraft Tuffy leaving a nice open deck space. E-Propulsion engines are also virtually maintenance free meaning you don’t have to worry about freshwater flushing after each use, or that costly annual service!
The controls on the E-prop are simple and straight forward… switch on and twist the throttle and you are off hitting a max 4-5 kts depending on vessel loading/sea conditions, with pretty much no engine noise to contend with.
This is all positive stuff…so what are the cons of an E-Propulsion electric engine?
The major downside of all electric engines available on the market today is the power and therefore speed. If you need to travel any sort of distance, contend with tides/weather or make haste, then the traditional petrol outboard remains the preferred option with the Tuffy reaching up to 20kts with a 15hp outboard.
The reverse chines on the hull promote rapid lift as the boat accelerates onto the plane to provide a remarkably stable ride. We tested the Tuffy to its limits as we ventured out of the sheltered Scottish bay into the open water with 1-2m swells where we experienced the hulls unique ability to flex in rougher seas.
Mareta’s verdict; If you are using your Polycraft Tuffy as a tender, for local fishing or to potter across the bay, then the E-prop is certainly a practical and economical choice for the environmentally conscious boater. However to fully appreciate the Tuffy Tender’s capabilities, petrol outboards remain our preferred propulsion method to explore the coastline/inland waterways until electric engine technology catches up with their petrol counterparts.