Electric cars have been in the Okanagan for years, and now electric boats are making a splash in the Valley.
Kelowna businessman Mark Fry is leading the charge in the electric boat industry.
“We decided to buy an electric boat for ourselves here in the Okanagan,” said Fry, founder and CEO of Templar Marine Groups.
But Fry wanted a bigger, faster electric boat.
So he had one built.
At 29 feet long, the Templar Cruiser 26 includes a three-foot rear swim platform, a full-sized bathroom and can carry up to 15 passengers. But the best part is the noise. Or lack of it.
Templar Marine says the boat is 100 per cent electric, with no internal combustion engine or fuel tanks. Templar adds the boat is light at 5,100 pounds and can be towed by most average SUVs.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the release of our first model and proud of our team who has hand built the Cruiser 26, taking it from prototype to completion in under a year,” Fry said.
The boat is also reportedly cheap to run.
“It’s 10 to 15 cents an hour to recharge it overnight,” said Fry. “You’re not putting in $200 worth of fuel.”
Okanagan companies have tried to break into the electric boat market and failed, but Fry says they failed because the timing wasn’t right.
“Ten years ago, it wasn’t cool to have an electric car,” he said. “Now the reverse is happening and we’re seeing the same thing in the boating industry.
But boats, electric or conventional, are not cheap. According to Fry, the purchase price for the Templar Cruiser 26 will be “around $130-140,000.”
Fry says a gas-powered boat of the same size would cost considerably more.
“If you compare it to motorboat of the same size (29-feet), you’re looking at $200,000,” he said.
Fry adds that five models are planned for release in 2019, and that business is taking off. He says he has dozens of pending orders, including interest from other countries, where waterways could one day be abuzz with electric boats made in the Okanagan.