Plug-and-Play Propulsion from VETUS

Plug-and-Play Propulsion

VETUS delivers compact electric-drive systems.

Plug and play usually means an electronic device works immediately with very little programming. The user clicks “OK” a few times on a touchscreen, and the product comes to life.

While the new VETUS E-DRIVE systems—which includes two different products: the straight-shaft E-LINE and the aptly named E-POD—don’t integrate quite that easily, these electric propulsion solutions are designed with fast, convenient installation in mind for both new builds and retrofits. When combined with a VETUS BOW PRO proportional bow and/or stern thruster, it’s a complete electric-maneuvering system.

“We developed the VETUS E-LINE and E-POD solutions to make installation and use as easy as possible,” explains Pim Bonne, international sales and product manager for electric propulsion for VETUS. “There is very little effort and time needed to make them fully operational. Boatbuilders say an important aspect is that it is a very compact system in which all main components are integrated into one package. It is literally plug and play.”

E-POD or E-LINE

Choosing an E-POD or E-LINE depends on the boat and current type of propulsion. A sailboat with a sail drive is a great candidate for the E-POD, while a sailboat or powerboat with straight shafts and rudders are good candidates for E-LINE. Both systems are designed for displacement or semi-displacement hulls and speeds less than 10 knots. 

Once installed, the only thing left is to wire in the battery bank and the control wiring
for the VETUS V-CAN. For retrofits, the V-CAN wiring offers the much-appreciated flexibility to install anywhere on the helm or wing station. VETUS offers output power of
5 kW to 10 kW, with a peak input power up to 13.3 kW. When purchased, VETUS provides the customer a complete package unique to the boat, ranging from shore power components to propeller, for smooth installation and usage.

The E-POD system is designed for installation in the vessel’s stern without the need for a shaft drive. For example, the 48V VETUS E-POD100 (10 kW) is a compact electric propulsion system, including propeller, pod, and drive, for smooth and silent sailing on power and sailboats up to about 36 feet. The enclosed propeller reduces cavitation, and because there are no vibrating parts on board, the E-POD system operates without noise. 

A notable feature of both the E-LINE and E-POD systems is Active Electronic Braking, which provides full control without the need of a gearbox and clutch. The high torque of the electric motor is used to change the direction of rotation quickly and actively. For example, the boat can be stopped within one boat length if necessary. 

Powerful Combination

“An E-DRIVE system with a VETUS BOW PRO thruster is a powerful combination,” says Kevin Theuns, sales manager of thruster systems for VETUS. “For the BOW PRO, our research and development team came up with the idea of using very efficient brushless AC motors, which are controlled by a VETUS proprietary-patented motor controller. This controller is able to receive twelve, twenty-four, or forty-eight VDC to control the brushless AC motor. The main advantage of this setup is that the motor and motor controller are very efficient and won’t heat up fast.”

That’s a big advantage because most bow thrusters usually can only run a few minutes before overheating and shutting down. 

“This new design leads to an ‘unlimited runtime’ with the BOW PRO,” Theuns explains. “The motor controllers are ‘smart’ and completely monitor the operations including motor temperature, controller temperature, voltage, amperage, and rpm to make sure these parameters are within their thresholds to provide maximum efficiency.”

BOW PRO thrusters

The VETUS BOW PRO thrusters are made for new builds as well as the aftermarket and come with an easy-to-follow installation manual—qualified mechanics can always get back up with the manual. Also, advanced do-it-yourself enthusiasts should be able to install a BOW PRO thruster themselves.

All VETUS BOW PRO thrusters are designed to be installed as the original thruster or as a refit for an existing thruster, and the VETUS BOW PRO thruster series can also be installed as a stern thruster.

“The BOW PRO thrusters fit in the most common thruster tunnels that are used in the thruster market,” says Theuns. The BOW PRO thrusters are available in tunnels with an internal diameter of 110, 125, 140, 150, 185, 250, and 300 millimeters. “Those are the common thruster tunnels that are used by several brands,” he adds.

VETUS’ electric products, E-DRIVE and BOW PRO, give short-range cruisers the ability to go fully electric. As battery technology and charging improves, fully electric boating will be easier and more available than ever. vetus.com 

-by Doug Thompson

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