The go-green initiative has catapulted the business models of multiple industries globally and the boating industry is no exception. With traditional gasoline and diesel powered boats significantly increasing pollution levels, the need for alternate sources of energy to propel boats has pushed manufacturers to introduce eco-friendly boats in the global market. Hybrid boats powered by solar energy are fast emerging as an attractive alternative to conventional boats owing to the zero emission factor. Further, installation of solar panels in boats reduces the weight of the boats considerably, and offers an added advantage of noise reduction. This makes solar powered boats perfect for recreational activities. Manufacturers are innovating to design solar hybrids with increased passenger capacity in keeping with the rising market demand.
Earlier, propulsion systems in boats were powered by lead acid batteries. The use of lead acid batteries in electric boats comes with several disadvantages including added bulk and low battery cycle time. The latest trend is the adoption of lithium ion batteries for power generation in boats. Lithium ion batteries with phosphate technology are the newest trend in the global market. Besides a huge life of 10 times more than lead acid batteries, lithium ion batteries are lightweight, charge faster, have low toxicity levels, and require relatively low maintenance. These batteries can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner as compared to lead acid batteries. These properties have shifted boat manufacturers’ preferences towards lithium ion batteries.
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These trends are defining the positive growth trajectory of the global electric boats market, which, according to a recent analysis by Future Market Insights, is projected to exhibit a growth rate of 11.0%, moving from a valuation of US$ 106,029.4 Th in 2017 to US$ 327,678.2 Th by the end of 2028.
Increase in sales revenue of electric boats can be attributed to the following key factors:
- Boost in the global recreational boating industry leading to high demand for boats
- Focus on development of lightweight boats fuelled by electric power
- Adoption of small size boats for purposes of maritime security
- Focus on the reduction of emissions and awareness of the need to reduce environmental pollution
North America Undisputed Leader in the Global Market; Western Europe to Stay Second in Line
Needless to say, North America projects the highest demand and adoption of electric boats, given the thrust on boating as a leisure activity among the American population. Western Europe is the second biggest market in terms of sales of electric boats, again given the increasing preference for recreational boating activities in the region. Markets in the Middle East & Africa and India are yet to be fully tapped and are currently witnessing relatively moderate growth in terms of both demand and sales of electric boats.
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Recommendations for Key Players
Vendors in the global electric boats market need to focus on introducing newer hybrid models that can propel on diesel / petrol as well as electric systems in keeping with the surge in consumer demand. Focussing on certain key markets in developing economies can prove to be beneficial in the long run, given that the populace in these regions is growing financially and is looking for more water based recreational activities. Boating as a leisure activity is fast gaining traction and manufacturers would do well to expand their distribution network in fast growing economies of the SEA & Pacific and countries such as China.