Electric propulsion is nothng new, it has been around for more than one hundred years. What has always held it back has been the battery technology. Batteries are heavy, expensive and the slow rate of charge has been a bit of deterent to the slow adoption by the recreational boat market. This morning I got to go out for a ride on a center console boat equipped with the 40hp Torqeedo motor. The battery is a single Lithium Ion item which in this case is situated under the center console seat and console. Weighing in at 328 pounds it is something of a beast but it is diguised well and frankly you would never know it is there. In fact much of the space that would be taken up with the gas tank on a regular boat is in fact used for the battery stowage. The outboard itself operates on a voltage of 345 volts which is high but this keeps the battery cables to the motor to a sensible size. Anyone who has a 12 volt bow thruster on their boat will know just how thick the cables have to be for even a modest thruster of 3 or 4 horse power. If you remember your high school physics then you will remember that as voltage increases resistance decreases and so this is one reason for the high operating voltage, potential power from the battery is made into tractive force rather than heat in the form of electrical resistance. So just how does the motor perform? The answer is very well. At first the quiet is unnerving. After turning on the key switch which is akin to an ignition switch on a regular gas engine nothing happens. All that you have done is energize the circuits and it is only as you push the 'throttle' control forward that electricity is sent to the motor and the boat starts to move forward. The lack of noise is uncanny and normal speech is possible even when driving the boat at 20 knots or so. Top speed as tested was around the 26 knot mark and even at that speed the only thing that you can hear is the whine of the reduction gear which on a gas engine is still present but masked by the motor. The brushless motor produces prodigious amounts of torgue and acelleration is swift. The down side to this installation is cost, the motor and battery as tested costs $35,000 which is significant. Although built to a high standards using the best German engineering there is no getting away from the cost, for the same money I can buy a Toyota Prius which has a hybrid power unit, batteries and all the other trimmings, and still have change left. If only Torqeedo can bring the price down of the motor and batteries they are onto a winner.