Preview: A Solar-Electric Catamaran, The Ultimate Low Maintenance Cruiser – ELECTRIC PHILOSOPHY

*     *     * is a membership website with over 1,000 videos and articles on boat handling, repairs, maintenance, boat building, dream boats and more.

Sign up above to learn more, and get 10 of our best videos.

*     *     *

An up-close tour of a 100% solar powered electric houseboat that will get you thinking.

Get Free Videos Start Free Trial Members Sign In

Comments, Thoughts or Suggestions?

You can leave a comment or question for OCH and members below. Here are the comments so far…

Leave a Comment

21 Responses So Far to “A Solar-Electric Catamaran, The Ultimate Low Maintenance Cruiser – ELECTRIC PHILOSOPHY

  • Avatar

    George McNeir says:

    Great work from Sam Devlin with the aid of Ed and Eileen Polly, a builder plus two engineers.

    If the readers would like a more in depth frame of technical and historic reference, they might want to view our private build 40′ Solar-Electric Cruiser (1989) – ALGEMAC II listed under more of the electric boats of 40 feet in length on this site.

    We are on the east coast and started our design in 1986 and launch about 1989. The boat shares many of the same ideas as the Polly’s boat but seems to come in a lot less expensive.

    If you would like further information you may call me directly but please email me first. I am partially deaf and need to know who will be calling. I do enjoy the gab and sharing info and ideas for your own application. George McNeir, email phone 910-431-1729 10 am to 10 pm EST.

  • Avatar

    Harold Wheeler says:

    Simply amazing, never thought I’d see the day, it is here,

  • Avatar

    Michael McCartney says:

    Amazing boat, would love to hear more details, also how is it in rough weather?

  • Avatar

    Andrew Dvorak says:

    I wish Sam had the design on his website, but not yet. With regards to cost I’m keeping my eye on the development of the Aluminum-Ion battery by GMG. They’re slowly expanding their trials and capacity and maybe they’ll be ready with a much less expensive but better than the current Lithium batteries in the couple of years it will take me to decide what’s my next boat. But this cat hits all my requirements too, except cost. I also didn’t like that they had 12V, 24V, I think 48V, 120V and 240V onboard. I’d want to standardize on one or two, but I guess they were working with what they had available.

  • Drew Britten

    Drew Britten says:

    I also had the opportunity to speak to Ed and Eileen at the festival, as I am also an Engineer from Iowa who moved to the Puget Sound over 17 yrs ago. What a wonderful boat and what a great story. I’m so glad they are leading the way with Sam’s help, as this is just the kind of boat I hope to be cruising in someday. Thanks OCH for the storytelling!

  • Avatar

    David Rawls says:

    What’s the chances that you find a ‘design’ engineer married to a ‘test’ engineer? WOW! Perfect couple for the project! With RV experience to guide them! It looks like they hit a home run to me! Selling the Airstream and vehicle got long way towards completion! Iowa has some pretty solid folks who know how to walk the talk! Thanks so much! I agree with the request for Part 2-3 after this one! Congratulations to all of the builders; Devlin crew and owners!

  • Avatar

    Ron Badley says:

    I think the boat is awesome. Definitely a step in the right direction. Looking at pure numbers… that battery bank has to be worth 100k . Plus the electric drives and controls. It’s all big bucks. Price it out and see. Probably double that for the batteries but let’s use the 100k. After some digging the boat has the equivalent of about 40 horsepower. Looking at the little Beta 18 fuel burn chart, fuel consumption is about a litre per hour at half rpm. Plenty to push this boat at 6 knots. So the 100k in batteries compared to 100k in fuel. These days 100k of diesel is 50,000 litres, in Canada. Give or take. That works out to 250,000 miles of voyaging. Ten laps around our little rock in space. Lots of miles. The Beta engines are 10,000 each. (Just bought one, I have a similar project on the go). While I think the concept is awesome the numbers don’t support the expense. I wish they did. I really do. It’s a Beautiful boat but the biggest “savings“ can be had by simply slowing down.

    • Avatar

      Philip McLean says:

      Good analysis, but to be fair there are other costs associated with ICEs which should be considered for the calculation to be fair.

      The price of consumables plus engine maintenance time and expense, through hulls and piping, the need for cooking gas systems or a somewhat robust battery/generator/solar system to produce similarly independent systems each add to installation and operating costs.

      But the engine noise and associated vibration is a real detriment to the cruising lifestyle this couple seeks. I guess they are a “numbers” couple who have assigned a high value to this aspect of their cruising which more than justifies the up front expense… just looking at their grins and obvious pride after thousands of hours aboard gives me confidence they’ve built proof of concept.

      • Avatar

        Ron Badley says:

        I totally agree. …just wish it wasn’t so darned expensive!


  • Avatar

    Kit Laughlin says:

    Please, can OCH do a follow-up, a program that concentrates on the technical aspects of this build: vessel construction, the actual Electric Yachts engines used, the battery chemistry (are these recycled Tesla batteries?) and so on. Thanks so much for making this, but please make this a ‘part 1’. Cheers from a very wet Australia. KL

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Hey Kit. A lot of that info is in the Worldwide Classic Boat Show presentation listed in “related videos”.

      • Avatar

        Kit Laughlin says:

        I watched the Worldwide Classic Boat Show presentation in its entirety, Steve; thanks, but a number of critical questions remain unanswered. I think there’d be huge interest in a video on the more technical aspects, of the sort I mentioned in my initial question. I have a vested interest—our current vessel could be a sister to Electric Philosophy, but she’s fitted with twin Volvo Pentas presently. We are inclining to two BetaMarine hybrids (so a seagoing version of a hybrid car) but we could be convinced to go full electric if we can make the numbers work.

        In the meantime we are experimenting with simply going slower, as a number have mentioned.

  • Avatar

    Ken Sparkes says:

    Just what I was looking for in electric boating, great video! Keep them coming, Thanks Off Center Harbor.

  • Avatar

    Malcolm Meldahl says:

    Finally! A boat for the aged! What I didn’t catch was, “How much?” It looks pretty expensive. Are those lithium phosphate batteries?

  • Avatar

    George Conbeer says:

    Very impressive boat and high quality video.
    Having done the Great Loop, I can attest that Electric Philosophy is a perfect Loop boat. I hope they proceed with that part of their plan. It’s an extraordinary experience.

  • Avatar

    Todd Wiley says:

    It would be interesting to hear from Sam Devlin how he dealt with the design challenges he probably encountered and what he sees as the future for electric boat design.

    • Nate Rooks

      Nate Rooks says:

      Todd – check out our WCBS presentation on solar cruising, linked in the description. Sam gives some very interesting insight into these questions.

  • Avatar

    Philip McLean says:

    What a wonderfully cohesive approach to cruising. So many problems avoided while creating a great living space, functional esthetic and straightforward ship handling.

    Ticks SO MANY boxes I’m stunned.

  • Avatar

    Eigil Rothe says:

    Amazing story. I love the no-through-hull fitting and no diesel. Amazing amount of thought and attention to detail. Thank you. Happy cruising.


Get Immediate Access, Plus
10 More of Our Best Videos

Your email is safe with us.
We'll NEVER share it, and we DON'T spam.

or …

Start Free Trial

Get Instant Access as a Member to the Entire Site

  • Access all 1000 videos/articles
  • No risk! Cancel anytime
  • Get a nice discount if you join