The EPROPULSION Spirit is a relative newcomer to the UK market, although it has been available in Germany for about five years; and we have been using one ourselves for three full boating seasons. The Epropulsion bears some obvious resemblances in terms of specification and even appearance to the market-leading Torqeedo 1003 (and newer 1103), but also has some significant differences. Most of this page assumes you’re already familiar with the Torqeedo, but if not see: Torqeedo 1003
2019 NEWS: Torqeedo launched their new 1103, some might say in response to the Spirit, and it’s mechanically more similar to the Spirit (ie direct drive, no gearbox)…
2020 NEWS: Epropulsion announced the SPIRIT PLUS which looks identical to the now discointinued 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 currently (15 Sep) in stock.
First the most important differences, good and bad, Epropulsion Spirit PLUS to Torqeedo 1003 and 1103:
– NOISE, The Torqeedo is quiet compared to a petrol outboard, but the Epropulsions are noticeably quieter than the Torqeedo 1003. This is because the Torqeedo 1003 has a small, fast-spinning motor driving the propeller through a reduction gearbox, while the Epropulsion has a larger, direct-drive motor (no gearbox). The Torqeedo 1003 solution is lighter, but the Epropulsion mechanically more simple. The loudest part (ie what you hear) of the Torqeedo 1003 is that reduction gearbox, and it’s widely described as a “whine”. To our ears at least the Epropulsion is more pleasant to listen to and generally sounds more “refined” (if there’s any wind or waves, it’s all-but silent). There is a video (not ours) of both here: Torqeedo & ePropulsion sound test HOWEVER we’ve tried them next to each other and the new-2019 direct drive Torqeedo 1103 is even quieter than the (already very quiet) Spirit.
– (A bit) HEAVIER. The Torqeedo 1003C (with 915Wh battery) weighs 14.9kg, the more directly comparable new Torqeedo 1103 C (also 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 new 1103 motor/shaft weight is 11.3kg vs the Spirit’s 10.8kg (and the 1003’s 8.9kg).
– FLOATING BATTERY. The E-Propulsion battery is physically larger, partly because it houses a battery with 10% more capacity (1276Wh for the new Spirit Plus – vs 915Wh for highest capacity Torqeedo option), and partly because it encloses enough air for it to float if accidentally dropped. We have tried it, and it does float. The Torqeedo 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.) There is also a Fast Charger option coming for the Epropulsion PLUS batteries, specification tbc. Both also have the option of using 12V DC chargers, with the Epropulsion roughly twice as quick as the Torqeedo.
The less significant differences:
– The Eprop’s 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 Eprop does not have GPS, so it does not have a 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 battery also has nearly 40% more capacity (new Plus model) than the largest Torqeedo battery, this means the Eprop Spirit PLUS 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 6 knots, with run times at that speed ranging from half an hour (Torqeedo 532Wh battery) to 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 Torqeedos can be purchased with 532 or 915Wh batteries; the Eprop Spirit Plus comes with a 1276Wh battery.
– 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 the tiller (hard-wired) and remote (wireless) are not interchangeable, you have to choose one or the other when you buy it (and you can’t later use a remote with a tiller model, nor vice versa). BUT the remote version of the Epropulsion 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.
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 two motors are roughly the same in terms of speed (~6 knots on a dinghy) so the range of the Epropulsion Spirit 1.0 is about 10% more than the Torqeedo simply because the battery has more capacity. And similarly the Epropulision Spirit Plus has about 25% more range than the Spirit 1.0, and about 40% more range than the Torqeedo 1103. At full power the Torqeedo 1003C (with 915Wh battery) will run 55 minutes giving a range of 5.5 miles; whilst the Epropulsion Spirit 1.0 will run for an hour giving a range of 6 miles. The new Spirit Plus flat out should go about 7.5 miles. The Torqeedo 1103 is 1100W rather than 1000W but they make no claim for higher speeds; so flat out the 1103 will run for 50 minutes.
– At half power you should get more like 10 nautical miles from either of the Torqeedos. 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 11-12 nautical miles at half power for the Spirit 1.0, and 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 now also make an “XS” (Extra Short) model. 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 new Plus is the same size.
The Epropulsion is also a bit cheaper than either the Torqeedo 1003C or 1103C (you will find cheaper Torqeedo 1003 motors advertised, but only with smaller capacity batteries):
– NEW Epropulsion Spirit PLUS XS or S shaft, 1276Wh battery, £1600* IN STOCK (15 Sep)
– Epropulsion Spirit 1.0, 1018Wh battery, £1529 (SORRY NOW SOLD OUT, NO MORE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN UK)
– NEW Epropulsion Spirit PLUS spare battery 1276Wh £800 IN STOCK
– Eprop Spirit 1.0 spare batt 1018Wh £700 (if you have a Spirit 1.0) Avail Sept
– Epropulsion Spirit spare propeller £50 (Spirit 1.0 or PLUS)
– Epropulsion 12V DC/solar control charger £80** IN STOCK
– Epropulsion Spirit 1.0 fast mains charger, Spirit 1.0 only, £250***
– Epropulsion Spirit PLUS fast mains charger, PLUS only, £400*** Avail/spec tbc
– Epropulsion bag set (motor & battery, for 1.0 & PLUS) £150 IN STOCK
The Spirit 1.0 with 1018Wh battery is now SOLD OUT, SORRY. And there won’t be any more of this model in the UK. We have retained information and accessory listings for customers who already have one, but the Spirit PLUS is effectively a Spirit MkII and replaces the Spirit 1.0.
** 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. Different versions for Spirit 1.0 and Plus (both due in stock September 2020), so if you’re ordering it with a motor we’ll assume it’s for that motor. If ordered as separate item please state on order form which motor you have.
*** Fast Mains Chargers. The price of both motors includes a standard mains charger, with faster chargers as an option. The £250 Spirit 1.0 fast charger will go from flat to about 90% in 2.5hrs (the last few percent take longer). There will be a fast charger for the PLUS too, exact spec tbc, avail late 2020. As with all fast charging though, this benefit is not without cost. It does not “harm” the battery as such, but in terms of battery longevity is roughly equivalent to two cycles of charging at the standard speed.
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 September 2020 we are still the only UK Dealer to stock both makes. By that we don’t mean “we can get one if you really want us to”; we usually have both Torqeedo and Epropulsion motors available to see and buy. 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. The new 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.
Technical drawings with dimensions here: Eprop Spirit tech drawings
MORE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SPIRIT 1.0 – NOW DISCONTINUED – AND NEW 2020 SPIRIT PLUS
The differences are not obvious to see, in fact unless you’re particularly eagle-eyed you’d say they look the same. Much like the Torqeedo 1003 and 1103 though, the important differences lie inside:
– the Spirit Plus has 25% more battery capacity than the Spirit 1.0 (1276Wh vs 1018Wh). Both have more than any Torqeedo battery offered for this type of motor (Torqeedo options 532 or 916Wh)
– the Spirit Plus runs at 48V rather than 42V (Torqeedo 1003/1103 run at 29.6V). This is industry standard, and more efficient (higher voltage = lower current = lower losses to heat) and because it’s a multiple of 12 means you can run the Spirit Plus on even higher capacity external batteries if you wish
– the Spirit Plus has a super-robust connector. We didn’t have trouble with the plastic ones fitted to Spirit 1.0 motors (and Torqeedos) ourselves, but those fitted to the Plus are metal.
– the Spirit Plus is £1600, the Spirit 1.0 is £1300
Remote models will follow, but later in the year.
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