Power is needed not only for propulsion

Published: Monday, 03 February 2020

THE urge by the Inland Waterways Association to replace diesel with electric propulsion for boats has overlooked a very salient point.

That unlike vehicles that only need power when in motion, boats consume power for a variety of essential purposes when moored, power that is usually provided by the alternator(s) when the boat is cruising. Or occasionally solar panels and the hope the sun is shining.

No automatic charging

Alas, with electric propulsion there would no longer be automatic charging when the boat is cruising, so boats would need their batteries charged at a power point very often indeed, even daily.

With the 'down' on solid fuel stoves many boats have diesel powered heaters, that rather nullifies the whole policy, and also of course requires battery power to operate.

Diesel-electric power plant

Or perhaps the IWA believe that the solution would be installing a combined diesel-electric power plant, switching to diesel when the batteries fail, but the cost of these would be astronomical and a severe blow to the already struggling boat building industry.

But whatever, 'going electric' would mean hundreds of charging points and fairly close together, with power having to be brought to the remote waterways from distance sources at huge cost, and just how many would be needed?

It can only result in boaters having no alternative but to use generators to charge their batteries, that rather nullifies the whole purpose.