The EPROPULSION Spirit is not as well known as the equivalent Torqeedo, but has been available in Germany for six years; and the UK four. So it’s well established now, and keeping up if not ahead on the innovation front. Most of this page assumes you’re already familiar with the Torqeedo, but if not see: Torqeedo 1kW motors
2019 NEWS: Torqeedo launched their new 1103, some might say in response to the Epropulsion Spirit, and the 1103 is more mechanically similar to the Spirit (ie direct drive, no gearbox) than its Torqeedo 1003 predecessor…
2020 NEWS: Epropulsion announced the SPIRIT PLUS which looks identical to the now discontinued Spirit 1.0 but with 25% more battery capacity than the Spirit 1.0 (40% more than the Torqeedo 1103), and some other changes most people won’t notice… Spirit PLUS XS & S currently (January 2021) in stock.
LATEST 2021 NEWS: Torqeedo have now dropped their old gearbox models (503 & 1003) altogether, and announced the new direct drive 603 with a floating battery (Epropulsion Spirit always had a floating battery). Epropulsion have launched the NEW Spirit EVO model, to run alongside the PLUS. EVO looks largely the same and has same battery as PLUS, main additions being regenerative charging, and removable tiller interchangeable with remote control.
First the most important differences, good and bad, Epropulsion Spirit PLUS to Torqeedo 1103 (with occasional reference to old Tqdo 1003):
– NOISE, The Torqeedo 1103 is all-but silent, the Epropulsion is slightly noisier than that, in air. But in both cases if your boat is going through the water – which is presumably what you bought it for! – the noise of the bow wave splashing against the hull will usually drown out the motor. Both are much quieter than the old (now discontinued) Torqeedo 1003, which had a distinctive “whine”. And MUCH quieter, and smoother (the lack of vibration is almost as noticeable as the lack of noise), than any petrol motor!
– (A bit) HEAVIER. The most directly comparable Torqeedo 1103 C (915Wh battery) weighs 17.3kg, and the ePropulsion Spirit (1276Wh battery) weighs 18.5kg. However the story changes slightly with batteries removed – what we call the irreducible weight – as the 1103 motor/shaft weight is 11.3kg vs the Spirit’s 10.8kg (and the 1003’s 8.9kg).
– BATTERY. The E-Propulsion battery is physically larger, partly because it houses a battery with 39% more capacity (1276Wh for the Spirit Plus vs 915Wh for Torqeedo 1103), and partly because it encloses enough air for it to float if accidentally dropped. We have tried it, and it does float. The Torqeedo 915Wh batteries do not float, nor are they claimed to; we have not tried that ourselves but unfortunately (for them, and their wallets!) some of our customers have… it’s an expensive mistake to make!
– FASTER CHARGE TIME. From flat, with the mains chargers supplied: the Torqeedo 915Wh battery charges in about 10 hours; and the Epropulsion 1276Wh in about 7 hours. (NB that is total charge time, the Epropulsion charging rate is a lot faster as there’s more of it to charge.) Both also have the option of using 12V DC chargers, with the Epropulsion again roughly twice as quick as the Torqeedo.
The less significant differences:
– The Eprop Spirit PLUS tiller is folding rather than removable, which also means there’s only one cable to connect/disconnect (compared with the Torqeedo’s two cables). But it does mean the dismantled Torqeedos are slightly smaller to store. The new-for-2021 Spirit EVO has a removable tiller.
– The Epropulsions do not have GPS, so no readout for speed and range (the Torqeedo does). However both motors do tell you how much battery is left, which seems to be the bit people find most useful on the Torqeedo LCD, and nowadays many people have navigation apps etc on their phones (which give much more information).
– The Epropulsion has more range. We haven’t done that much in the way of truly fair testing (identical boats, identical conditions, identical battery charge states) but so far there doesn’t seem to be much in it on top speed. That was on a lake, on a small RIB, flat calm. At half power the Eprop is possibly slightly faster than the Torqeedo, and (from a customer with a Drascombe Lugger) it looks like the difference might be more in favour of the Eprop on heavier boats. These differences are most likely due to propeller characteristics. If you conclude “there’s really not much difference” then as the Eprop (Spirit PLUS) battery also has nearly 40% more capacity than the largest Torqeedo battery, this means it will take you about 40% further, at the same speed. In more general terms on a typical dinghy they all run flat out out at about 5.5 knots, with run times at that speed ranging from 55mins (Torqeedo 916Wh battery) to 1hr 15mins (Epropulsion Spirit Plus 1276Wh battery). If you reduce speed to 4.5 knots the run time will double, approximately, with significantly increased range.
– Battery options. The Torqeedo 1103 comes with a 915Wh battery and the new 603 with a 500Wh battery; the Eprop Spirit PLUS & EVO come with 1276Wh batteries.
– The “Remote” options. (May be significant if you want to use the motor on different boats.) The Torqeedo remote is wired, and interchangeable with the tiller. You buy the tiller version and then add the remote control if you want one. On the Epropulsion Spirit PLUS the folding tiller is hard-wired and not removable. On the new Spirit EVO you can choose removable tiller or remote (wireless or wired as you wish) and (if you buy both) the tiller and remote are interchangeable. Also the Epropulsion Spirit EVO is compatible with standard steering gear, and the Torqeedo isn’t. On both brands you can lock the steering and use the boat’s rudder, but if you want to steer the Torqeedo directly, other than by tiller, you have to invent something.
– Regenerative Charging. The new Spirit EVO model can recharge its own battery if you mount it on the back of a sailing boat, from speeds of 4 knots and up. When the 12V charging output is available, it will also be able to charge your sailing boat’s batteries.
We always get asked “how far will it go?” This is the proverbial piece of string question. It depends how fast you run it, how heavy the boat is, how much tide is running in which direction, the battery charge state, the temperature… and more factors still. So the following is indicative but in no way any kind of guarantee:
– At full power, the Spirit PLUS (and EVO) and Torqeedo 1103 are roughly the same in terms of speed (~5.5 knots on a dinghy) so the range of the Epropulsion Spirit PLUS is about 40% more than the Torqeedo simply because the battery has more capacity. At full power the Torqeedo 1103C (with 915Wh battery) will run 50 minutes giving a range of 4.6 nautical miles; whilst the Epropulsion Spirit Plus flat out will run for about 1hr 15 mins and go just under 7 nautical miles.
– At 500W (approx half power) you should get more like 10 nautical miles from the Torqeedo 1103C. Our testing has not been absolutely scientific, but we believe that the Eprop is slightly faster at half power than the Torqeedo (most likely propeller-related); this, combined with the larger battery capacity, would indicate a range of at least 14 nautical miles from the new Spirit Plus.
– The range/run-time will increase further as you slow down more, but since 10 nautical miles is already far more than most people ever need from a small outboard motor we haven’t really bothered testing it. Torqeedo claim 35 miles at 2 knots (for their 915Wh battery); we don’t want to sit in a boat going at 2 knots for 17 hours to prove or disprove it!
SHAFT LENGTH – S, L, or XS?
Both the Epropulsion and the Torqeedo spin much larger propellers, more slowly, than comparable petrol outboards. This makes more efficient use of the high torque characteristics of electric motors. BUT a large propeller is only more efficient if it’s actually underwater, and that means the shafts have to be a bit longer. So the “S” shaft electric motors are almost the same length as an “L” shaft petrol motor. However on some small boats these “S” shaft electric outboards stick down rather deeper than necessary – as in fact do S shaft petrol motors. This is inconvenient when coming into a beach or slipway – so Epropulsion also make an “XS” (Extra Short) version for the PLUS model (not the EVO). This is roughly equivalent to a petrol “S” shaft and immerses the propeller deep enough on many of the boats we sell including SpearFish, smaller F-RIBs, Nautiraid Coracles, Nestaways, DinghyGo. XS is the most suitable length for most small inflatable dinghies on the market (up to about 3m long), but not some with big tubes and an air floor beneath them (eg Honwaves), which are better served by an S shaft.
The lengths from top of clamp bracket (where it sits on transom) to the upper tip of the propeller (in upright position) are:
– XS shaft 37cm
– S shaft 47cm
– L shaft 59cm
IDEALLY the propeller tip would sit a couple of centimetres below the hull, but on a small dinghy – where the bottom of transom is significantly immersed when loaded – it will still work even if there is a slight overlap. And the outboard not sticking down an extra 10cm (4″) makes a big difference if you land on shallow slipways or beaches frequently.
If you’re worried about this, don’t. We can work out with you which shaft length is most likely to be correct but if you buy one and find out immediately on installation that it’s the wrong size, then for the cost of the postage each way (about £30 in total) and assuming it’s returned to us in new condition, we’ll change it for you. (Subject to availability and cost difference between shaft lengths where applicable.)
BULB (Motor Housing) Size
For most applications – for example a motor on the back of a dinghy – this is not important.
But if you’re planning to put your motor in a dinghy, dayboat, or small yacht’s “well” – often with a marginal entry/exit slot – it might be. The Torqeedo 1003 and Epropulsion Spirit (shown in blue) are similar but the new Torqeedo 1103 (orange) is quite a bit larger. The 1103 bulb is 323mm long with a diameter of 123mm, the Spirit bulb is 254mm long with a diameter of 108mm.
We’re not sure why there’s such a difference – maybe because the 1103 has 10% more power – but it’s definitely there, and quite noticeable. Because of this it may also be less convenient to store the 1103 than the Spirit, in some situations. Conversely however the Torqeedos are more compact at the top end than the Epropulsion, this again doesn’t matter for most users but does in some specific situations.
The batteries for both brands can be mounted separately if desired (where a petrol outboard fuel tank would have gone, for example), by means of the optional battery extension cables.
Technical drawings with dimensions here: Eprop Spirit tech drawings
NB Whilst those drawings are for the Spirit 1.0, don’t worry, the PLUS and EVO are the same size.
The Epropulsion Spirit PLUS is also a bit cheaper than the most directly comparable Torqeedo 1103C (you may still find cheaper Torqeedo 503/1003 motors advertised, but these are a very different design and discontinued for 2021):
– Epropulsion Spirit PLUS XS or S shaft, 1276Wh battery, £1650 IN STOCK
– Epropulsion Spirit PLUS L, 1276Wh battery, £1700 (back in stock March 2021)
– Epropulsion Spirit PLUS spare battery 1276Wh £800 IN STOCK
– Epropulsion Spirit spare propeller £50
– Epropulsion 12V DC/solar control charger £90** IN STOCK
– Epropulsion bag set (motor & battery, for 1.0 & PLUS) £150 IN STOCK
– NEW 2021 EVO Upgrade (in stock April). This is the additional cost to have an EVO model instead of a PLUS model, available in Short and Long shaft models only. You can have it with a tiller or a remote control, same price. So order Epropulsion Spirit PLUS, S or L, then add this, and state tiller or remote in additional text at end of order. £325
– EVO Tiller or Remote. If you want both tiller and remote control options, this enables you to add the other one. State which in additional text at end of order. £250
NB The previous model Spirit 1.0 (1018Wh battery) is now discontinued, but many spares are available and/or interchangeable with the PLUS, please call or email. The Spirit PLUS is effectively a Spirit MkII and replaces the Spirit 1.0. The Spirit EVO is a Spirit PLUS with the addition of regenerative charging (under sail), and a choice of tiller or remote control throttle.
** 12V DC/Solar Charger. Because of the voltage at which the Spirit batteries needs to charge, this is actually quite a sophisticated DC-DC “step-up” charger and current controller, hence the additional cost compared to the Torqeedo 12V charging cable (which is effectively a piece of cable with the right connectors on both ends). This means the Epropulsion can also be connected directly to most solar panels, ie there is no need for any extra controllers or regulators in between, and you don’t have to use any particular make of solar panel.
CHOOSING & BUYING YOUR ELECTRIC OUTBOARD MOTOR
If you contact us you will be able to speak to somebody who has actually used both the Epropulsion and the Torqeedo on the water, and can give genuine, useful (realistic!) advice about battery life, range, and whether your particular boat is suited to electric drive.
As of February 2021 we are still the only significant UK Dealer to stock both makes. By significant dealer we don’t mean “we list it and can get one if you really want us to”; we usually have both Torqeedo and Epropulsion motors available to see and buy. We are the largest UK stockists (and top retailer) for both brands, and have been for at least two years running. There are many similarities between the two, but also some important differences. We have seen and tried both, quite extensively, and it’s only by stocking both we believe we can listen to what you want and recommend the one that will suit you better (rather than being a single brand dealer and forced into trying to sell you that one…).
We must emphasise, we have nothing against the Torqeedo 1003 – we’ve been selling them for nearly ten years, customers have loved them – but there are now two more recent designs on the market. And the Torqeedo 503 and 1003 are discontinued for 2021. The newer direct-drive Torqeedo 1103 is excellent, but we really do feel it’s in our customers’ interests to be able to compare Torqeedo and Epropulsion directly next to each other, rather than at separate dealers perhaps 50 miles apart. If you would like to compare the two motors for yourself, we have both here, please come and see us.
MORE ON DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SPIRIT PLUS and NEW-2021 SPIRIT EVO
The differences are not obvious to see, in fact unless you’re particularly eagle-eyed you’d say they look the same. The two models run alongside each other, they are the same dimensions, and they have the same (class leading) 1276Wh capacity battery. However there are some important differences, the main ones being:
– the Spirit EVO adds regenerative charging. This may be completely irrelevant and meaningless to you! But, if you have a sailing yacht, and hang your EVO off the back on a suitable bracket, it means you can charge your Spirit battery whilst sailing. And if you buy the optional 12V charging box (coming later this year), you can charge up your yacht’s 12V system from the Spirit battery. Yes that’s correct, your electric outboard also doubles up as a battery charging device, which makes it a bargain if you were looking at buying a hydrogenerator – eg Duogen or Watt & Sea – as well as an electric outboard.
– the Spirit EVO tiller is removable. And interchangeable with a remote throttle (which can be wired or wireless). In fact you can choose whether you want a tiller or remote version, unlike the Torqeedo where you have to buy the tiller version and add the remote. (Spirit PLUS tiller is wired in and folds down.)
MORE ON THE REGENERATIVE CHARGING
As mentioned above, the new Spirit EVO can be fitted to the back of your yacht (on a suitable bracket, not supplied), and used to recharge either the Spirit battery or (once the optional 12V charging box is available) your yacht’s 12V battery system. It is not quite as efficient as a good dedicated hydrogenerator, nor does it operate from quite as low a speed, but one might also point out this is a £325 option for your electric outboard, rather than a standalone device that costs £3000 plus!
The output is rated as follows:
– below 4 knots, non-operational
– 50W at 4.3 knots
– 140W at 6 knots
– 260W at 8 knots
– 360W at 10 knots, above which it cuts out
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