BMW i3 battery packs make a splash in Torqeedo's electric boats

BMW's i3 battery pack powers Torqeedo's electric boats.
Cars and boats go together pretty well, although any connection usually just involves matching paint jobs. But electric boats from German manufacturer Torqeedo borrow something a little more substantial from BMW’s i3.

BMW i3 battery packs will soon hit the waves as the power source for Torqeedo’s line of Deep Blue inboard and outboard electric motors, which offer up to 160 horsepower. Torqeedo claims the i3-sourced pack will offer the highest energy density of any battery pack in boating, meaning it crams a larger amount of energy into a given volume.

Torqeedo claims its electric powertrains can provide five hours of operation per charge, when traveling at 4 knots (around 5 mph). The range goes down at higher speeds. The company is currently selling a 30.5-kilowatt-hour version of the BMW i3 battery pack starting at $31,999, while the electric motors start at $23,999. The first BMW-powered boats are already in operation, according to Torqeedo.

The battery pack appears to be in a different configuration from its original automotive application. The i3 launched with a 22kWh battery pack, providing 81 miles of range. For 2017, BMW added a larger 33kWh version to the lineup, with 114 miles of range. BMW also sells the i3 REx, which uses a two-cylinder gasoline engine to charge the battery on the go, boosting range.

The Torqeedo tie-in isn’t the first example of BMW trying to find a use for its i3 battery packs outside cars. Last year, the automaker announced a partnership with Germany’s Beck Automation to use i3 battery packs for home energy storage. That involves using the packs to store energy harvested from renewable sources, like solar panels, for later use.

The ability of energy storage to potentially make solar power more practical, and make use of the same types of battery packs that power electric cars, has attracted interest from other automakers as well. Tesla is probably the most prominent energy-storage player, selling Powerwall and Powerpack battery packs and solar panels alongside its electric cars. But Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler also wants to sell energy-storage units, likely produced by its own Deutsche Accumotive battery division.

If electric cars become more prominent, these alternative uses for battery packs could become more common. Because cars aren’t the only things that can be powered by electricity.


Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.