#14) "Everything that can be electrified, will be electrified"
first cars - now boats, pioneered by Evoy in Florø, Norway
The above quote was lifted from the EU Commission report, Strategic Research Agenda for batteries 2020
Back in 2017, Elon had introduced an offer you cannot refuse to the Norwegian market: the ability to finance your purchase with next-to-0 interest. Literally .0025 interest for up to a 10 year loan. It was like my rich aunt loaning me money to finance my dream car.
Given that these cars back then were roughly $100k purchases, financing was/is the only option for most humans.
Two friends of mine, let’s call them “Helge Høibraaten” and “Glenn Pedersen” to protect their identities, developed a spreadsheet that we could all use to convince the wives of the economic wisdom of “investing” in a Tesla.
Reality check for those who live outside of Norway, the taxes on cars mean that you must accept already paying much more for a car than the rest of the world.
A quick look up online on a brand new top of the line Audi A4 2022 today for example?
Santa Monica: $48k
When I grew up, nobody would consider paying such sums for cars unless you were extremely extremely rich (and likely from ill gotten gains) or extremely extremely tacky. Or both.
Ok, so with that in mind, we were all excited to finance our Teslas. And we did.
My neighbors, Øyvind and Mari, bought one, using a “refer a friend” code I sent them. As did my friend Hans. Then another couple up the street got one. Soon at the kindergarten, half the cars were Teslas. Not a joke. It felt like Beverly Hills.
According to Wiki, “the Norwegian plug-in car segment market share has been the world's highest for several years, achieving 29.1% of new cars sold in 2016, 39.2% in 2017, 49.1% in 2018, 55.9% in 2019, and 74.7% in 2020.” In 2017, we felt like early adopters but already 30% of cars sold already were either hybrid or fully electric.
Today the thought of buying even a hybrid seems like a copout to me. It’s pure electric or nothing. Although when I have nothing but funny money to spend, a “classic” gas guzzler could be fun for a weekend drive in the country I must admit. The sound of the engine! The smell of exhaust!
Which brings us to what is happening with the boat market today. Today, the sound of the boat market is very much the sound of my Mercury 150 horsepower engine starting up (ah, that sound … now you know you’re going on a boat trip), the exhaust coming out the back, the complete inability for anybody to speak once you’re running at about 15 knots or more. You get used to the noise.
When I switched to the Tesla I really thought I would miss the sound of driving a car. Not at all. It’s the deathly quiet I love. My Tesla is a ninja prowling the roads and can creep up on you before you know it, yes, you there with the Porsche, that’s me in my family car passing you suddenly on the left, like a whisper in the wind.
Those who know me know I love the water. I grew up in Florida on Boston Whalers (owned by friends - my father always said “much better to have friends with boats than a boat yourself son”) and Sunfishes and Hobie Cats (rented by Pappa in the summer) and hardly remember even having shoes on most of the time.
I now live by the water in Bergen with a 21 foot daycruiser that I co-own with my aforementioned neighbours. Co-owning a boat is the best by the way. Takes away all guilt about being too self indulgent for starters.
Those who know me also know I have been studying and working actively in the oceantech space of Norway for quite some time now, a term that spans everything from aquaculture to the development of smart boating and electric boating.
Evoy powers the fastest electric boat in the world with its 800 horsepower inboard engine - that record was set on a Goldfish, a gorgeous RIB boat you buy if you want to outrun the cops on the water (although having said this, the cops might well have a Goldfish themselves).
Evoy heralds the imminent arrival of mass recreational boating in silence. I maintain that the electrification of boating is soon upon us. What happened with electric car adoption in this country will soon happen with electric boats.
I realize that often the longest boat trips I take are no more than 30 minutes and back from the house. Out to the marina to buy ice cream with the kids. Out to Austevoll to have dinner with my wife. Into Bergen to work on a summer day. That epic 3 - 4 hour trip in one day? It happens once per year if I am lucky.
Worry about range will go by the wayside just as it did with owning an electric car. Charging stations by companies like Plug are being installed along the main harbours of Norway so you can travel from port to port and top up your engine battery along the way.
What the founder and CEO, Leif Stavøstrand, is doing from his base in Florø is big and ambitious and global in reach and impact. There are over 5000 boatbuilders worldwide he can partner with. A much wiser strategy than, say, building his own boat to start with. Boating is not like the car industry where one car type can maybe reach 1m models in a year like Toyota continues to do (shockingly to me) with its Corolla model. He has opted, rather, to try and power as many boat models as he can, be it a new build or a retrofit.
He and his father had the idea as far back as 2005, and in 2018 Evoy was started as a company. Less than 3 years later? Working boats, purely electric, being put to work by the fish farming industry, powered by Evoy’s high output electric propulsion system. This is an extraordinary feat - not 9,9 hp “putt putt” boats going around your local waters, but up to 15 meter working boats being used for 100s of hours per year, day in and day out, for mission critical commercial purposes.
Check out this video from an early adopter customer, E. Karstensen fish farming.
Enova is a Norwegian government enterprise responsible for promotion of environmentally friendly production and consumption of energy.
And they put their money where their mouths are.
For commercial customers like our friends at E.Karstensen, there is an opportunity to receive up to 40-50% grant support to cover the upfront investment in an Evoy system.
(Curious about costs? You can configure your Evoy here).
When a customer is using her boat between 400 - 500 hours per year, as many commercial customers do, driving back and forth from shore to farm every day, then the payback on an Evoy system vs a traditional gas guzzling system can be achieved in under 2.5 years. Key enablers here in addition to the Enova support are lower fuel costs (battery charging) and lower ongoing maintenance costs.
This in addition to taking significant carbon emissions off the board.
And lo and behold, because of aggressive incentive schemes like the one Enova funds, Norway will lead the way in electric boat adoption, just like it did with cars.
We just need a similar scheme for the recreational boating industry please. Then my next boat will be electric. 100%.