Last week BoatTEST sent a crew to Amsterdam to visit the annual METSTRADE Marine Equipment Show. After a COVID-pause of one year, the 2021 METSTRADE show was bursting with two years’ worth of new products. The importance of METS is that the exhibitors’ new products point to the future direction of boating. This year’s show unmistakably pointed to a “sustainable” future. That means electric outboard motors, hybrid diesel and electric inboard drive systems, a move to high energy-density Lithium-ion batteries and stepping away from oil-based products wherever possible.
At METS, we counted no fewer than eight electric outboard, inboard and sterndrive motor companies in their infancy, trying to gain purchase among boat builders and distributors for the aftermarket. These nascent outboards range from 2.5-hp to one company claiming a 270-hp outboard. We counted at least three brands claiming to have the world’s highest horsepower outboard motor. With a single exception (Torqeedo), these electric outboard motor companies are largely being made by small private companies lead by electrical engineers who are often boating enthusiasts, and investors who are betting on the come.