March 01--Lithium-ion batteries made by Johnson Controls Inc. will power an electric boat motor made by Torqeedo of Germany, the companies announced Thursday.
Batteries for the 80-horsepower electric boat motor, named Deep Blue, will be produced at Johnson Controls' advanced battery factory in Holland, Mich.
Production will launch this spring.
The battery is adapted from a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle battery, modified to make it waterproof and resistant to salt water.
"The collaboration between Johnson Controls and Torqeedo gave birth to a new battery solution," said Christoph Ballin, Torqeedo's chief executive, in a statement. "By integrating the high performance automotive batteries for use in boats and ships, Torqeedo is pleased to bring this truly unique product to market."
Terms of the contract weren't disclosed. The Deep Blue electric motor has been recognized at boat and marine equipment shows for its innovation.
The cleaner and quieter motor isn't for the faint of wallet, with a price tag of $19,999 for the motor and battery packs starting at $15,000.
But this isn't for the recreational boater, said Torqeedo vice president of business development Chris Carroll.
Instead it's aimed for commercial boat operators who are on the water at least 150 to 200 days a year and are spending $6,000 to $12,000 a year on gasoline, Carroll said. The motor and battery packs can help those operators insulate themselves against higher gas prices for nine years, which is the warranty period for the battery packs, he said.
In Europe and other places around the world , regulations are increasingly mandating use of all-electric motors to reduce pollution of bodies of water that are relied on for drinking water. Torqeedo has introduced a variety of electric motors for recreational users as well.
Johnson Controls' Holland factory, supported in part by the federal stimulus package, has been producing lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric cars.
In a statement, Johnson Controls' power solutions vice president Holger Jetses said the company "helped our customer combine two distinct technologies -- the large outboard engine and electric motor -- making the Torqeedo Deep Blue system a real game-changer."
Cost of the motor.
Starting price for battery pack.
Target customers: Commercial boat operators who are on the water at least 150 to 200 days a year and are spending up to $12,000 a year on gasoline.