Electric Propulsion Has Arrived For Watersport Tow Boats!

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Soon we will be talking about electric boats, just as we now talk about electric bikes, electric cars, and electric motorcycles.

Any kind of serious water skiing, wakeboarding, wake-skating, and wake-surfing has traditionally required boats from 20 to 25 feet in length powered by big inboard V8 converted automotive engines. Competitive slalom (slalom, trick & jump) boats are 21 ft now and designed to make the smallest wake possible. All other watersport boats are designed to hold a lot of people, hold a lot of gear and make the biggest wake possible.

Super Air Nautique GS22e charging at 25 kW on Lake Tahoe, courtesy of Todd Sims. May 16, 2021

Correct Craft has been making ski boats since 1927, and these have evolved into the giant wakeboarding, wake-skating, and wake-surfing boats up to 25 feet long that dominate the industry today.

Correct Craft Ingenity Division has just released the Super Air Nautique GS22e. This is the cutting edge of electric propulsion that I expect to eventually dominate watersports just as it is beginning to do today with land vehicles. The boat is in production and over 20 boats are already out in the wild. You can order one today, and depending on color choices, have it in a few months.

Surfer, mom, and kids on Super Air Nautique GS22e, from Nautique brochure.

The Super Air Nautique GS22e is a 22 ft pure electric boat that sells for $299,708. This may sound like a very high price for a tow boat, but several Correct Craft gas-powered watersport towboat models sell for that price or more.

Amazingly, the GS22e has a slalom mode for the smallest possible wake. But it can take on water ballast in left and right side tanks to increase the size of the wake. Water can be moved from one side to the other depending on which wake the surfer is using. These tanks and the trim tabs on the bottom of the transom can be configured remotely to increase the size of the wake and to adjust it, including to the left and right for the ideal size and shape for wakeboarding and surfing.

Those of us familiar with land electric vehicles will recognize many similarities. This is no accident. Ingenity has relied as much as possible on technology developed for electric cars.

The GS22e has a 125 kWh battery, which is bigger than the biggest 100 kWh batteries commonly available in electric cars today.

The GS22e will run for 2–3 hours pulling normal wake sport activities. The electric motor has peak power of 220 kW/296 HP, continuous power of 145 kW/195 HP, and torque of 325 ft-lb. Electric drives have legendary torque starting at zero RPM, which translates into excellent out-of-the-hole power.

Super Air Nautique GS22e, courtesy of Nautique.
Super Air Nautique GS22e charging port, courtesy of Nautique.
Super Air Nautique GS22e powertrain, courtesy of Nautique.
Super Air Nautique GS22e, courtesy of Nautique.
Super Air Nautique GS22e, courtesy of Nautique.
Super Air Nautique GS22e screen, courtesy of Nautique.

The GS22e has a 10 kW onboard charger, which is equivalent to the fastest EV AC charging today. A L2 240V 32amp EVSE cable is included with each boat and requires an overnight 22-hour charge. These require only common household 220V service normally used for ovens, clothes dryers, and hot tubs.

For faster AC charging, Ingenity recommends a L2 240V 48amp cable that costs about $1,100 from many suppliers and requires a 60amp feed. It requires 12 hours for a full charge from empty.

If a user wants to operate the boat more than once per day, private individuals can buy Ingenity’s CCS compatible DC chargers. These are very similar to L3 fast charging for electric cars. In fact, you could also charge many EVs with these chargers if they had a second very thick cable long enough to reach a place where a car could park. 

Surfing behind the Super Air Nautique GS22e on Lake Tahoe, courtesy of Todd Sims.

The 25 kW charger charges from empty in 4 hours. It costs about $12,000, plus shoreside feed (240V single phase 75 amp, or 3 phase 60amp).

The 80 kW charger will charge the boat in 90 minutes from empty. It costs about $50,000, plus shoreside feed (480V 3 phase 100 amp).

Ingenity has 25 kW chargers installed in Orlando and on Lake Tahoe for testing and demo purposes. It plans to have an 80 kW charger on Lake Tahoe by next season. 

From Correct Craft: “Ingenity’s battery boasts the highest energy density of any recreational electric-drive boat available on the market today. This enables the drive system to meet the most rigorous watersports demands day in and day out. The unique battery design by Ingenity incorporates cells that have been sourced from the top suppliers in the world and are actively cooled by a safe, non-conductive liquid. This allows the cells to charge and discharge at the high rates required without sacrificing longevity.”

Screenshot from Ingenity website.
Screenshot from Ingenity website.
Screenshot from Ingenity website.

In 2020, Correct Craft announced the acquisition of an electric boat drive system, Ingenity P220, that originated in Austria. Previously built by Ortner Electric in Villach, Austria, the Ingenity P220 is the highest performing electric towboat propulsion system in the world. The significant demand in Austria for the Ingenity P220 positions the system well for substantial international growth.

Note: Virtually every lake in Germany and Austria is restricted to electric propulsion. I’m sure that the officials who wrote those laws were thinking of boats with electric motors the size of trolling motors. However, these new electric water sport towboats meet the regulations. Unless the laws are changed, you can now ski, wakeboard, wake-skate, and surf behind electric towboats on the lakes in Germany and Austria for the first time.

I’ve presented the primary wake surfing and wakeboarding application of the Super Air Nautique above. However, the GS22e has a setting to minimize the wake for slalom skiing. An amateur slalom skier could spend many enjoyable sessions behind the boat. However, the wake is bigger than the one on the Correct Craft Ski Nautique, which is specifically designed for the smallest wake possible.

Some Historical Perspective of Water Ski Tow Boat Applications

Fritz slaloming behind a Ski Nautique on Utah Lake on September 24, 2011. Fritz received the gold medal in Age Group Trick Skiing Behind the Ski Nautique Tow Boat at the US Nationals in Bakersfield, California. He competed at the US National Water Ski Tournament for 46 years.

Before the advent of the dedicated wakeboard boats like the Super Air Nautique, it was common to put an improvised tower on a regular competition ski boat like the Ski Nautique. Add some bladders full of water, fill it up with your buddies, and get on with wake jumping and wake flips.

The other application of the Ski Nautique is to pull tricks and jumping as well as slalom.

The other major use of water ski tow boats is show skiing. There may be hundreds of amateur and professional water ski show teams in the US. However, the show skiing capitol of the world is southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The big division I teams like the one you see below use Hydrodyne boats with three 300 HP outboard motors to pull the big acts.

Every skier has to start sometime. Some start earlier than others.

My 4-year-old granddaughter showed us that you can ski with no hands — August 3, 2007.

At 13, the granddaughter shown above was on top of the 4 high pyramid and on the right end of the ballet line in the pictures below from Three Lakes, Wisconsin.

At 19, she will be the Aqua Devils show director.
Max Blanchard on a wake board approaching the show ski site behind a Super Air Nautique — Aqua Devils Water Ski Show at Three Lakes, WI. June 27, 2018.
Jamie Beauchene, world class slalom skier, behind a Ski Nautique at the Ken Meade Tournament in Lake Holly, Virginia. August 24, 2002.
A world class slalom skier like Jamie requires the ultra-flat wake of the Correct Craft Ski Nautique.
Oliver Loeffler, amateur jumper, at Lake Holly, Virginia. August 5, 2000
Division I 17 skier ballet line, pulled by triple 300HP outboard hotors on Hydrodyne Boat at Wisconsin State Show Ski Tournament. July 22, 2016
My greatest accomplishment: getting gold medal in age group trick skiing behind the Ski Nautique tow boat at the US Nationals in Bakersfield, California. I competed at the US National Water Ski Tournament for 46 years.

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Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler

Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler, PhD, former leader of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization & Analysis Laboratory (creator of this iconic image), and avid CleanTechnica reader. Also: Research Meteorologist (Emeritus) at NASA GSFC, Adjunct Professor at Viterbo University On-Line Studies, PSIA L2 Certified Alpine Ski Instructor at Brighton Utah Ski School.

Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler has 117 posts and counting. See all posts by Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler