New Vetus Electric Engine for “Old Nick”

This is a very exciting post for us, as we can finally announce that “Old Nick” will be the first electric, serial hybrid, narrowboat, where the complete hybrid propulsion system is from one company – a “one stop solution”.

The company in question, is the world renowned Dutch company Vetus who for over 50 years, have been designing, manufacturing and trading one of the largest catalogues of marine equipment in the industry. Best known for their diesel engines, generators and bow thrusters, these are just a fraction of their complete product range and they are one of the few companies that can provide the whole propulsion system, from fuel tank to prop and everything in between.

Much respected in the inland wateways industry, Vetus have just announced an exciting new series of electric propulsion products, including a 10KW E-Line engine which will be fitted to “Old Nick”. Their tag line is “Vetus – creators of Boat Systems”. And that’s just what they will be doing for us.

New Vetus 10KW E-Line Electric Engine

UPDATE – New E-Line information has just been released by Vetus and can be viewed by clicking here.

In addition to the E-Line engine, there will be a Vetus 6KVA, 1500RPM generator (GLX6,5SIC), one of their latest brushless Bow Thrusters 65kgf (BOWPRO65AC) and a whole list of other equipment including; stern gear, tanks, calorifier, pumps, prop, driveshaft, etc. There are not many, if any, other companies that could have supplied this range of equipment and certainly none that have a competitive new electric propulsion solution.

For a boat builder, such as Ortomarine, and ultimately the boat owner, there are many benefits to sourcing from one supplier:

  • Simpler procurement
  • Easier installation
  • Better compatibility
  • Lower order processing and shipping costs
  • Improved package pricing – “The more you buy, the more you save!”
  • One point of contact for sales, service and support

Whilst studying the Vetus catalogue, which has nearly 4000 parts in it, and trying to work out how much we needed for “Old Nick”, I was very grateful to be put in contact with Richard Lythgoe, from the Vetus sales team. Richard guided us through everything, patiently answering our questions and giving us the benefit of his extensive knowledge and experience.

Click image to download a copy

There are a number of companies now selling electric engines, but the engine is just one part of an electric serial hybrid system and we felt strongly that choosing a well known and reliable company, who could supply the complete package, had to be a good way to reduce some of the risk in embracing a new technology. We want “Old Nick” to be a good blue print for others wanting to “go electric” and keeping the equipment list as simple as possible with the fewest number of suppliers, seems like a good plan.

In my professional life, I have seen Vetus products at many shows and trade events, plus followed some of their recent NMEA 2000 work on bow thrusters and electric propulsion and have always been impressed with their product design. Being their first E-Line customer in the UK is a really unique opportunity and one that we are really looking forward to. Over the coming weeks, we will cover each of the major components in more detail but for now, we just wanted to share our exciting news.

9 Replies to “New Vetus Electric Engine for “Old Nick””

  1. This sounds like the way forward. Congratulations!

    It will be useful to hear how the running costs pan out over all 4 seasons.

    In the meantime, may I ask how much it cost to build and fit out etc?


    1. Thanks Tony. I have a spreadsheet (one of many!) set up to calculate exactly those running costs. The boat came out at around £160k. It’s our absolute dream. We’ve been living aboard just over a month now and are loving it. I don’t know if you saw the stats from our inaugural cruise? We were out for about 4 hours and on our return, the batteries were at 85% SOC – and we had boiled the 3kw kettle several times and used the 1kw microwave to heat up our lunch. We were pretty happy with that outcome. More stats to follow – once we can cruise again.

  2. Hi Paul,
    Interested in the propulsion system and your experience to date. Could you share some info please?
    What size/type of battery bank do you have? I note that the Vetus drive is 10kW. Has it been powerful enough for normal canal cruising and in the locks? What size prop do you have fitted and what’s the energy consumption/cruise time you’ve been able to achieve?

    1. Hi Colin, we have a 48v 800Ah Lead Carbon battery bank that should give us at least two days of cruising and living completely off grid. We have the generator that will automatically cut in when the batteries get to 40% SOC as a safe guard.
      Due to snow/ice, Christmas and then lock down, we have not really been able to get out of the marina, but we did manage one
      We cruised for four hours and the batteries were only at 85% SOC with next to no solar so in the summer we should be able to cruise all day just on solar.
      The prop is 13” x 9” and seems a good match. Acceleration and braking is good and we seem to have plenty of torque. Have not been on a river yet but we will be recording and publishing our performance figures as soon as we are allowed to start cruising again. Cheers Paul

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