Torqeedo vs Elco

Both manufacturers offer electric outboard motors in the 1hp to 80hp (Elco 5hp to 50hp) category and have an established track record and presence in the leisure boating sector.

While gas-powered outboard engines account for the lion’s share of sales (98% of all sales) and persuading people to change to electric is not an easy task, the price of gas and the concerns with climate change are making electric power ever more appealing.

Each range has its strengths and weaknesses, which we will discuss in this article.

Brand Reputation and History

Most of us believe that marine electric motors are a new technology. While it is true in some instances and relatively recent advances have been made, Elco has been in business since 1893.

Interestingly, there is an unresolved dispute in The United States District Court For The Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, where Torqeedo is suing Elco for patent infringement.

Elco

The first significant order that Elco won was in 1893 for the supply of 55 electric launches at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition.

While the first electric motors were inboard units integrated into the launch systems, in 1950, Elco designed and marketed the first commercially viable electric outboards.

The three-phase induction motor used by Elco has no commutator or brushes (brushless motor), resulting in a single moving part, making them more durable than Gas power and Direct current (DC) motors. In addition, the Elco AC motors are rated for up to 50,000 hours.

All parts are made from cast aluminum. The smallest motors run on 24 volts, which increases to 96 volts required by the most powerful models.

Each motor is offered with the following options:

Torqeedo

Torqeedo started in 2004, working from a small garage on the shores of Lake Starnberg in Southern Bavaria.

The name Torqeedo is intended to refer to the main power characteristic of the company’s motors which provide high levels of torque.

Torqeedo motors have GPS positioning, remote access smartphone app and Deep Blue Lithium high-performance battery systems as standard.

Like Elco, electric motors are brushless. The difference between Elco and Torqeedo is that Torqeedo has magnets that rotate around the stator, while the Elco system has a conventional rotating stator.

Torqeedo claims that this system produces more torque than similar electric propulsion motors.

Torqeedo uses rare earth magnets, which they claim have 5 to 6 times the strength of regular batteries. Also stating, their engines have up to 20 times the torque of equivalent electric motor manufacturers’ engines.

All Torqeedo motors are offered with the following options.

  • Tiller or remote steering
  • Tiller-mounted throttle or remote
  • Long or short shaft

Product Range And Prices: Torqeedo vs Elco

Elco does not offer powerplants in the 1 and 3 hp range, and at the top end, Torqeedo is the only manufacturer with an 80hp electric outboard motor.

TorqeedoElco
Lightweight, GPS-based range calculationSimplicity in design, similar to traditional gas outboards
Integrated lithium batteriesLithium-ion and AGM compatible

Elco Product Range

ModelHorsepowerSuggested Battery TypeSuggested Retail Price (Battery and hardware excluded)
EP-5 Electric Outboard5 HPExternal 125 amps DC$2,610.00
EP-9.9 Electric Outboard9.9 HPExternal 98 amps DC$2,910.00
EP-14 Electric Outboard14 HPExternal 130 amps DC$4,110.00
EP-20 Electric Outboard20 HPExternal 175 amps DC$4,804.00
EP-30 Electric Outboard30 HPExternal 130 amps DC$6,999.00
EP-50 Electric Outboard50 HPExternal 275 amp DC$8,999.00

Torqeedo Product Range

ModelHorsepowerBattery TypeSuggested Retail Price Price(batteries excluded – unless integrated with motor)
Ultralight 403 A/AC1.0 HPIntegrated Lithium-ion batteries$1,999.00
Ultralight 1103 AC3.0 HPIntegrated Lithium-ion batteries$2,899.00
Travel 6032.0 HPIntegrated Lithium-ion batteries$2,248.00
Travel 1103 C3.0 HPIntegrated Lithium-ion batteries$2,948.00
Cruise 3.06.0 HPExternal AGM, lead-gel, or Lithium battery$4,298.00
Cruise 6.09.9 HPExternal AGM, lead-gel, or Lithium battery$4,298.00
Cruise 12.0 R Torq Link25.0 HPExternal AGM, lead-gel, or Lithium battery$4,898.00
Cruise 12.0 FP Torq Link25.0 HPExternal AGM, lead-gel, or Lithium battery$4,898.00
Deep Blue 2540.0 HPDeep Blue Lithium battery system$8,599.00
Deep Blue 5080.0 HPDeep Blue Lithium battery system$10,599.00

🔮 Editor’s Note: The Elco range is approximately 15% cheaper than the equivalent Torqeedo models; however, at the low hp range ( 5 – 6 hp), Elco models are 40% cheaper.

Elco vs Torqeedo vs Internal Combustion Engines

The traditional view is that powerboats with conventional gas-powered motors have better performance. This results in the perception that they are more powerful, have a longer range, and cost less.

Elco 50 HP outboard motorTorqeedo Deep Blue 25 outboard motor50 HP gas-powered outboard motor
Price engine alone$8,999.00$10,599.00$9,400.00
Battery price$5,532.00$5.199,00$0.00
Price$14,531.00$15,798.00$9,400.00

While this table shows that electric motors cost more, it is important to remember that the price includes the cost of the battery, which, in essence, should be compared with the future fuel cost for the gas-powered combustion engine.

The following figures are based on a 17-foot boat with a relatively flat hull.

Factors such as propeller pitch, the weight of the boat, contents and passengers, hull shape, and water conditions will affect consumption figures.

With electric and gas motors, the throttle position significantly affects the range. Typically, if the throttle position is set at 2/3rds, the boat can travel at least twice the distance.

Elco 50 HP outboardTorqeedo Deep Blue 25 outboard50 HP gas-powered outboard
 Capacity200-amp hour battery200-amp hour batteryaverage 25 gallons
Speed (Full throttle)+- 25 knots19 – 29 knots13 – 40 knots
Range (Full Throttle)+- 20 miles at full throttle29 – 43 miles22 – 60 miles
Time at full throttle35 minutes45 minutes1 hour 30 minutes
Time at half-throttle1 hour 30 minutes1 hour and forty minutes2 hours 30 minutes

While the above lists show the range superiority of gas-powered motors, the final decision is not so clear-cut.

One example is that electric outboard motors are more flexible and convenient if the boat is being used to travel to a specific destination. The electric motors can be recharged for free if they remain stopped using solar systems.

Boats with gas-powered motors must return to a gas station to refill.

Usage Applications

Features such as range, torque, and integration with marine electronics become pivotal in your decision-making process.

For the recreational boater, performance and ease of use are key. Torqeedo motors offer considerable range and high efficiency, which is particularly beneficial for pontoon boatsfishing boats, and dinghies.

Torqeedo’s 48-5000 lithium-ion battery, noted for being waterproof, can further extend your on-water experiences when connected in parallel making Torqeedo a strong contender for day-long outings where battery life is critical.

In a commercial setting, the durability and longevity of your equipment can impact operational costs. Electric power for runaboutstenders, and larger vessels needs to be dependable.

The Elco range is often highlighted for its robust build, potentially offering a longer lifespan which is significant for heavy-duty use.

Moreover, the convenience of not having to change seals as frequently as with some Torqeedo models can streamline maintenance procedures for your commercial fleet.

Technical Considerations and Durability

You should pay close attention to various aspects such as materials, efficiency, and warranty. These elements will aid in determining the best fit for your electric boating needs.

Elco uses cast aluminum in all structures and housings. This ensures the electric outboard motors can withstand the rigors that the electric outboard engine has to endure.

Being completely made from aluminum gives the lower unit enough strength to be accidentally scraped when sailing in shallow waters.

Torqeedo electric outboard motors use a mix of aluminum and hard plastic, making them more vulnerable to damage.

The recharging time required for an electric outboard motor battery is one of the biggest drawbacks of the technology.

Keeping a second battery is a sensible (albeit expensive) option. There are two charging options available.

Elco does not sell a portable solar recharging system. However, these are available from third-party suppliers and could be added to the tools used by the boater.

 AC ChargingSolar Panels
Elco10.5 hours from zero to full chargeNo Supplied, but solar chargers can be purchased separately
Torqeedo10.5 hours from zero to full charge50W solar charging sold by the manufacturer

Elco motors have a single moving part, which the manufacturer predicts will only need to be serviced after 50,000 hours.

Torqeedo electric outboard motors use a slightly more complex system which includes planetary gears. The result is that these motors are more efficient than the competition but may need more maintenance.

TorqeedoElco
Length of WarrantyTwenty-four months after the date on which the product was deliveredLimited Warranty, 2 years labor, 3 years parts
Is Warranty transferableWarranty is transferableThe Warranty is not transferable
Warranty on commercial operationsNoNo

Frequently Asked

Reviews for Elco outboards generally rate them favorably in terms of reliability and performance. Experiences highlight the importance of proper maintenance to ensure consistent performance, like annual inspections and proper storage during the off-season.

Torqeedo and ePropulsion offer different features that cater to various boating needs. For example, ePropulsion motors are praised for their hydro generation capabilities, which can be significantly efficient when using a special generation turbine. However, Torqeedo motors are favored for their integrated technology and a variety of motor options that can suit different boating activities.

Nice to e-meet you. I’m Justin, a seasoned sailing journalist and communications pro with more than 25 years of extensive industry experience. And a track record of successfully promoting teams and events on the global stage.