The Next Big Thing Page 4

The Next Big Thing

Diesel-Electric for Smaller Craft?

January 2005

 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Diesel-Electric
• Part 2: Diesel-Electric
• Part 3: Diesel-Electric
• Diesel-Electric For Smaller Craft?

 Related Resources
• Engines Index

 Elsewhere on the Web
• FAST Electric Yacht Systems

The reasons to power smaller craft with diesel-electric may soon become more compelling. In 1999 FAST Electric Yacht Systems was founded in Houston, Texas, with the aim of adapting reliable diesel-electric power to any boat, regardless of size. Using technology developed by Siemens for German electric buses, FAST developed a diesel-electric system for boats with power requirements as small 50 hp.

One of the first boats to be fitted with the system is April K, a 1995 Ocean Alexander Classico 423, whose power went from twin Caterpillar 3208s to a single Cummins B220. According to her owner, Paul Smith, April K’s fuel economy increased by 22 percent, maintenance costs were halved, and he had 35 percent more engine space.

When I asked Smith why he would install an arguably more complicated system that flies in the face of conventional marine thinking, he said, “There is nothing in your face about this technology. It’s being proven all around us: New York City buses, South Florida water taxis, smart cars, and golf carts all use this technology.” Besides, the results speak for themselves. Who wouldn’t do this?” —C.C.

FAST Electric Yacht Systems ( (713) 952-9908.

Previous page > Part 3: So which yachts could benefit from diesel-electric? Well, the larger the better. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

This article originally appeared in the January 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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