Electric power has been proven to be globally more environmentally friendly than any other form of power generation, with boats requiring less power to undertake a passage than other forms of engine. There are many good reasons for this including low friction, low speed and instantaneous power. Combining these features, electrically propelled boats on inland waterways are the most efficient form of transport available, both globally and at the point of use where there is no noise, no pollution and no fuss.
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In 1834 in Imperial Russia, German physicist Moritz Hermann Jacobi presented a paper to the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences about electromagnetism as applied to machines. Four years later Tsar Nicholas I granted Jacobi enough money to design and build an electric motor to be fitted to a ten-oared shallop. It was a 7.3m (24ft) boat which carried 14 passengers at 3 miles per hour (4.8 km/h) and was successfully demonstrated to the Tsar on the Neva River. However, it took more than 30 years of battery and motor development before the electric boat became a practical proposition, subsequently enjoying something of a golden age from about 1880 to 1920, after which combustion motors became the dominant form of propulsion for small leisure craft.
With the advent of cheap and more powerful combustion motors, coupled with the ease of refuelling, the use of electric power for the propulsion of leisure boats declined from the 1920s. However, the use of electric boats has persisted from the early 20th century to the present day in a few situations, usually because of local environmental considerations. During this period of stagnation, the use of electric power was primarily limited to trolling motors and it was not until 1982 that the Electric Boat Association was established and solar powered boats started to emerge.
Since the late 1970s there has been a revival of interest in electric boats for pleasure boating on the inland waterways around the world. Better underwater hull designs, lighter build construction, improved motors, batteries, electronic controls and recharge systems have given birth to a new generation of boaters that use electric propulsion for not just inland cruising, but also for coastal passages and offshore exploration. This revolution is already contributing towards more environmentally friendly pleasure boating for the 21st century.
Grosvenor Electric proudly represents a range of luxury brands of high quality new and preowned motorised boats, yachts, tenders with electric propulsion, new electric engines and new electric water toys in the United Kingdom and is part of Grosvenor Yachts Ltd. The Grosvenor Yachts brand has become a synonym for luxury, high quality and customer service.