There are a couple of options available already and lets explore these first before we resort to more lateral thinking. For many owners we find that ‘range anxiety’ is something that they encounter in the decision making process before buying a Torqeedo, but then they find that in practise the range is quite adequate. We find this phenomenon in electric vehicles as well and just as an aside lets take a quick look at what’s happening in that realm.
A new pattern in electric vehicles is the plug-in hybrid such as the Volt, which has an internal combustion engine to assuage range anxiety. But owners are finding is that despite a paltry electric only range of 50 km that they hardly ever go the petrol station to fill up. Here in Australia there was a conversion shop that converts Prius cars to have a plug-in electric option. And they found that one of the problems is the petrol can go stale in the tank because they hardly ever need to use the petrol engine. And so at the time they’ve added a feature—the purge button—to force the internal combustion engine to run and burn some fuel before it goes stale. Anyway, the bottom line of this is that we tend to be overly concerned about range of electric vehicles in general. And even though the range limitation is real, its rare for most users that they exceed the range available.
And so back to boating, this pattern seems to be the case with Torqeedo 1003 owners as well. Those who have in mind to add a spare battery mostly find that its not really a problem and can get by fine with one battery.
To do a practical test of range I took a trip by zodiac from Pittwater to Sydney Harbour by sea—a distance of around 20 nautical miles and did it with a single battery assisted by Solbian solar panels. I was using the old 400 watt-hour battery and overall I used around 700 watt-hours for the trip. For that trip the tide was against us leaving Broken Bay and against us coming into Sydney Harbour and so I think that it could be done with a single 500 watt-hour battery, and no solar assistance if the tides are used to better advantage.
But anyway, back to the chase… even though we see that range anxiety is a unfounded concern for most users we still do have a problem for some who do need to regularly exceed the range available in the 1003 battery and the Ultralight battery. And for these users there we have some ways to extend the range and to do so we can make use of aspects of the design in a different way to what was intended. But before going there lets fully explore the alternatives that are designed into the products.
The simplest solution is to just add a second battery and that will solve the problem in many cases.
|1003 Range and time with two batteries||Speed in knots||Range in nm||Run time hrs|
|Slow speed – 50 watts||1.5 to 2||25 to 40||20|
|Medium speed – 150 watts||2.5 to 3||17 to 21||7|
|Full speed||4 to 5||4 to 5||1|
But that still leaves a few categories un-answered…
Lets consider Ultralight users who venture off the beaten track for days or weeks at a time and will be nowhere near a plug-in point to be able to recharge from the grid. Here’s where the second battery and a solar panel can be an ideal solution. To unroll a solar panel on a kayak when travelling is rarely feasible but by having a spare battery that can be left at the campsite while you go exploring can allow you to return to a fully charged battery on sunny days. You can use a Torqeedo solar panel or one of our folding solar panels any 24 volt solar panel with the right connections. You can even use two 12v panels in series, or as we did on the zodiac trip, four six volt panels in series. Just be sure that the maximum output does not exceed 4 amps if you are using an old battery (pre 2015). With the old model battery, any more than this will exceed the circuitry of the battery’s built-in charge controller and you’ll blow an internal fuse which requires return to service centre to repair. The newer batteries are internally limited to 4 amps so you don’t have to worry about this, and can connect as much solar as you want, the battery will just take the 4 amps it needs.
The nice thing about this solar charge channel is that its working at around 30 volts and if we have enough solar panels, the power that we can get into the battery at 4 amps is 120 watts. This turns out to be around three times greater than the plug-in charger that comes with this battery. And here is the clue to how we can extend the range for other users, such as those with small sailing boats which already have a 12v battery on board for house power.
So this brings us nicely to talk about the main group who would like to get a Torqeedo 1003 but it does not have enough range. And in this case, it really does not have enough range. The scenario is this. You have a small sailing boat, around 20ft in length, and you often need to travel under power in navigation channels or rivers and where you might need to go against a current for a while, or for a long distance.
By charging the battery at 120 watts as you go, the range improves markedly for low power operation and also for intermittent high power operation.
For low power operation, say at around 200 watts, which in my solar boat equates to a nice cruising speed of 3 knots, 120 watts of this power would be coming from the house battery and only 80 watts from the Torqeedo battery. Normally running at 200 watts would indicate a range of 4.5 hours (that is, 915 watthr battery capacity divided by 200) but when only drawing 80 watts from the battery it will provide a range over 11 hours. If during that time the boat is anchored, say for fishing, or under sail, the Torqeedo battery is being charged.
For intermittent high power operation, the range can also be extended. Consider the case of a Torqeedo 1003 used on a racing yacht. Say it requires running at full speed for 30 minutes to get to the start line on time, this would use up about 500 wathrs, or over 50% of the battery capacity. Then while racing for three hours the battery is being charged at 120 watts, this would recover 360 watthrs, or most the energy used. Or if we look at it another way, say the battery is on charge from the moment the boat leaves the dock till when it returns, 4 hour later, it will have received 480 watthrs of power.
With any of these ideas that rely on taking power from a separate house battery its important to make sure the house battery is of sufficient capacity to provide the energy needed. Such a battery may be topped up from solar panels.
Since first writing this range extension article Torqeedo has introduced a new range of batteries which have a different charging circuit inside and can take charge from a range of sources. As long as the voltage is between 10 and 50 volts you can charge from whatever source is available. The battery will take up to 4 amps at whatever voltage is available. For voltages above 30 the amps drawn will be downgraded so that the maximum charge rate is 120 watts. The new batteries are far more adaptable than the old model and you can charge them from a variety of sources.
The battery model numbers and their characteristics are listed below:
|Battery||Model||Charge rate||Voltage range|
|503 pre 2015||1144-00||<4 amps||12-18, 30-60|
|1003 pre 2015||1145-00||<4amps||12-18, 30-60|
|403 pre 2015||1413-00||<4amps||12-18, 30-60|
|1003 from 2015||1147-00||4 amps||10-50|
|1003 from 2015||1148-00||4 amps||10-50|
To summarise I’ve laid out a table showing the various ways of charging while underway:
|Direct from 12v source (old battery)||23 watts||$88||This is a cable to connect from house battery to Torqeedo Battery|
|Direct from 12v source (new battery)||50 watts||$88||This is a cable to connect from house battery to Torqeedo battery|
|Direct from 24v source (new battery)||100 watts||$88||This is cable to connect from 24v house battery to Torqeedo battery|
|240v charger||45 watts||$90||To charge from a house battery this also requires an inverter to produce 240v. This charger comes with every 1003|
with 36v output
|120 watts||$100-$400||This device is wired to house battery and a cable run to the 1003 battery charge socket|
If you have further questions on this topic you can submit a public reply on this topic below, or submit a private enquiry using the form, or call me on 0409466271.