Campion Marine Breaks The Sound Barrier

Kelowna, BC-based Campion Marine has launched a new experimental sport boat powered by a 180 horsepower electric outboard.

Announced at the company's 39th annual dealer meeting in August, the one-off craft is built on the new 2013 Chase 550 platform, using an electric motor designed by ReGen Nautic of Dania Beach, Florida. "It's the most powerful electric outboard motor in the world,' said Campion Marine President, Brock Elliott. "The batteries occupy an area that would normally house the fuel tank, and that configuration preserves the balance of the boat. The electric motor has been engineered to fit inside the top end of a Yamaha F150 outboard shell, using the stock lower unit and driveshaft.

"The torque and acceleration of the electric motor is calibrated to be similar to that of a gas outboard,' continued Elliott. "But there is no sound – it is stealth.'

During sea trials on Okanagan Lake yesterday, the boat hit a top speed of 50 mph.

Campion has been working on the experimental boat for several months, in consultation with ReGen engineer Jean-Marc Zanni. The engine weighs about 100 pounds, but the batteries weigh about 550. In testing, the boat ran for several hours before requiring a recharge.

"The power and torque are spectacular – it will easily pull a water skier,' says Elliott. "And it's fast. But what gets you is that it's basically silent. All you hear is the water against the hull.'

The test boat – with a retail value in the $150,000 range – will shortly be on its way to the Campion dealership in Switzerland.

"Campion has made a long-term commitment to minimizing its carbon footprint in every way possible,' says Elliott. From the resins we use in the hull and deck construction to the soya-based foams we use in the seat cushions, Campion has led the industry in building the most environmentally-friendly boats in the world. So this is a natural progression, and hopefully, the beginning of a new era in boating.'