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I saw this in the latest Sea Ray Living magazine.

Matt

Water Sky Boat Watercraft Vehicle


Source of article with another one here with more photos.

We sea trial another Steyr Motors Hybrid from a mainstream manufacturer.
By Capt. Bill Pike

The first thing I noticed about Sea Ray's so-called "Green Boat" was her conventional appearance. Sure, there was something atop the bimini-a Sharp solar collector-but the gizmo was inconspicuous. And the hull sides were a perky willow green, with racy, black waterline stripes proclaiming: HYBRID. But otherwise, our test boat du jour looked like a regular ol' off-the-shelf 240 Sundancer.

The second thing I noticed vaguely hinted that this 240 featured one of the most innovative propulsion systems ever installed by a mainstream manufacturer. While the steering console had the usual Sea Ray stuff-Teleflex wheel, Quicksilver engine control, Carling Technologies toggles-there were mysterious extras as well: a Steyr Control Center LCD panel and a green button next to a black rocker under the wheel, both enigmatically unlabeled.

"This is an iffy project-even if we do decide to go to market it won't be until next year or maybe later," said Sea Ray engineering tech Doug Weyant while lifting the engine-room hatch at the rear of the cockpit. Weyant had been the principal creator of the Green Boat during the previous months, integrating into a standard production envelope various environmentally friendly technologies, chief among them the single 250-mhp Steyr MO256H45 Steyr Motors Hybrid diesel (see "Austrian Ingenuity," page 54) I was eyeballing in the engine bay. It was linked to a MerCruiser Bravo III drive and, according to Weyant, promised all-electric operation at maneuvering speeds.

A couple of ancillaries drew my interest as well. First there was the bank of four Group 31 Odyssey 2250 AGM (pure-lead) batteries, the main electrical storage bank for our Steyr's 48-volt D.C. system. Weyant told me he'd wanted to go with lithium-ion batteries with more storage capacity but ran out of time. The Odysseys were installed in an alcove in the forward firewall and, according to Weyant, had enough capacity to not only reasonably deal with all-electric propulsion but operate the boat's 7,000-Btu air-conditioning system for approximately eight hours, thus keeping the cabin cool for sleeping overnight at anchor.

Then there was the 12-volt system, a seeming redundancy. In addition to the somewhat ponderous Austrian electricals in the engine room, there was a more conventional setup, comprised of two Group 27 Stowaway batteries charged via a traditional engine-mounted alternator. Weyant said that besides energizing lights, instruments, and other house-type equipage, the system could also crank the diesel in case the Odysseys were inadvertently drained. He added that the unlabeled green button I'd noticed on the steering console was for cranking the diesel in this fashion.

Driving Sea Ray's Green Boat was not unlike driving a conventional stern drive, at least at first. In primary-diesel mode, the average top end I recorded was 38.7 mph, somewhat less than I'd expect from the standard 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0L MPI Bravo III package. Maximum fuel burn was 15.7 gph, way less than the aforementioned gasoline package.

Subtle differences began to arise eventually. Primary-diesel acceleration was noticeably robust, thanks to the hybrid's ability to boost torque on the lower end of the rpm register (see the acceleration curve, this story). And remember that black rocker switch on the steering console I mentioned earlier? To toggle from primary-diesel to all-electric mode I had to first shut off the diesel via the ignition key, then hit the rocker to energize the Steyr's electric motor and align it with the Quicksilver engine control.

Subtlety totally disappeared with the advent of the much anticipated all-electric mode. Driving was an absolute hoot! The system silently pushed the 240 along at 4.9 mph while drawing 90 amps from the Odysseys, for a respectable run time of approximately one hour. We topped out at 5.6 mph while drawing 150 amps, for a significantly diminished run time of approximately 25 minutes. These speeds were so close to those I got while idling on primary-diesel power alone that I could hardly tell the difference-except for the absence of smoke, smell, vibration, and engine noise. Moreover, I felt that the maneuvering clout and shifting response while docking at slower speeds were virtually the same as in the diesel mode, although it's worth noting that weather conditions were benign at the time, with virtually no wind or current.

The price? Sea Ray hasn't put one on the Green Boat yet. In fact, at presstime, the company was still gauging interest from dealers, employees, and journalists, wondering whether the wild-and-crazy little vessel-or one like her-will indeed be marketable at some point in the future. "We'll just have to wait and see," concluded Weyant.
 

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So you can go idle speed on batteries. Kinda underwelming.

Although I think diesel is the way to go. There are some serious turbo diesel engines in performance cars. Why not boats?
 

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Really interesting stuff there. I read about this a while back as well. It really is too bad that the price is so outrageous that they can't even post it. That is the problem with all this technology. That put such a high price tag on it doesn't go anywhere. The public needs affordable alternative options NOW! Put it out there for a fair price and make the profit in the long run, you jerks...
 

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QUOTE(Stodge @ Nov 9 2009, 09:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So you can go idle speed on batteries. Kinda underwelming.

Although I think diesel is the way to go. There are some serious turbo diesel engines in performance cars. Why not boats?

I agree, I think small diesels are going to be necessary to keep boating alive if gas continues to climb. Considering how inefficient a boat is, electric power just doesnt make any sense. Maybe hydrogen fuel cells?
 

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I think "green" and "pure lead" should not be used regarding the same product.
 

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QUOTE(Suck My Wake @ Nov 9 2009, 09:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>QUOTE(Stodge @ Nov 9 2009, 09:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So you can go idle speed on batteries. Kinda underwelming.

Although I think diesel is the way to go. There are some serious turbo diesel engines in performance cars. Why not boats?

I agree, I think small diesels are going to be necessary to keep boating alive if gas continues to climb. Considering how inefficient a boat is, electric power just doesnt make any sense. Maybe hydrogen fuel cells?


Diesels are great, if you ignore poorly-concieved government regulations. Problem is emissions regulations. To get automotive diesels as clean as automotive gas engines, you throw away quite a bit of efficiency. If the same kinds of emissions regulations come to boats, gasoline marine engines will get much more efficient while diesels will get less efficient. Catalytic converters and closed loop fuel injection systems really help gasoline engine efficiency. Particulate traps and whatnot don't really help diesel effieciency.

Other issues with diesels are noise, low top speed (but higher crusing speed) and low RPM requiring steeper props (a significant problem on faster boats) and higher initial cost. All of these issues can be overcome, but government regulations can kill just about anything.

QUOTE(Pornodave @ Nov 9 2009, 10:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think "green" and "pure lead" should not be used regarding the same product.


"Green" and "lithium-ion" or "hybrid" should not really be used together either. Hybrids using those fancy batteries are much worse for the environment, cradle to grave, than a comparable gas-only product. Lithium ion batteries require lithium, and to get lithium you employ very nasty mining processes. Way, way worse for the environment than sucking gas out of the ground and blowing CO2 all day. Hybrids require the same manufacturing processes as normal vehicles, with additional processes for the hybrid components. Again, much more environmental impact during manufacturing. Also, due to batteries, life span is shorter, resulting in even higher life cycle costs, and significantly greater environmental impact when the entire vehicle life cycle is considered.

But, if you don't understand all this stuff and you just want to feel good about yourself, well, that's what hybrids are there for!
 

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QUOTE(3crabs @ Nov 9 2009, 07:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>They already make environmentally friendly boats with low emmissions... They are called sail boats.

If it's mileage you want, you're gonna have to settle for a "blow-boat" (sails) or a "slow-boat" (displacement trawler). I've never had enough time for a blow-boat but I'd go for a trawler... someday!
 

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Were all going to hell for driving our air polluting, water contaminating, ethanol fuel sucking big a$$ boats across the lake for fun in the sun...
 
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