Does anyone have some experience and observations to share about electric kayaks they would be willing to share? Any info would be appreciated. I am particularly interested in:
1. How effective holding around inter-coastal bridges in current
2. The time and range battery good for.
3. Added difficulty in paddling when motor off.
4. Stability in chop.
Thank you in advance for your help.
The first kayak I ever bought came with a 35lb thrust electric motor that was molded into a cassette that fit in the mirage drive opening of the Hobie Pro Angler Kayak that it came with. It included a 90ah AGM battery that the prior owner rigged via a plugin from the front hatch.
The first thing I did was move the battery to the back of the kayak. The heavyweight of the battery in the front made the kayak difficult to steer. Furthermore, the last thing one wants is electrical plugins on the bow where they are more susceptible to spray and potential failure.
I found that the heavy weight of the AGM battery made the electric motor less appealing. At full power, it would move the kayak about 3.5mph offshore for about 45minutes before the battery ran out. After this, I would be peddling around for hours with all the extra weight of the Minn Kota motor and heavy battery.
Electric motor enthusiasts will argue that they use their motor 12 hours with battery power to spare. Well that may be true if they only use slow speeds all day on a light kayak.
With the advent of lower-priced lithium-ion batteries, and more lightweight electric kayak motor options such as Bixby and Torqeedo, the use of electric motors is becoming more appealing. MinnKota even makes a kayak with spot lock, to theoretically lock oneself in place while fishing a spot. When the price of 100AH lithium battery gets to under $200, I will revisit the feasibility of an electric kayak. In the meantime, If one wants power for saltwater, I would consider gas.
Addressing your questions:
1. I would guess that it maybe feasible for an hour or so in 2-3 kts of current before the battery is cooked. Is it worth the extra $$ and hassle of carrying the extra gear? not in IMHO.
2. With a 50ah battery, probably go all day at slow speeds. At full speed less than an hour.
3. I always use peddle kayaks, but would think that other than the added weight, as long as you pull the motor up out of the water, paddling is not much different.
4. Simular to the kayak without the motor. The added weight might actually add to the stability provided it is kept low in the kayak.