Splash! Lithium ion batteries powering electric surfboards March 08 2015, 0 Comments
You might think this electric surfboard was made in Hawaii or California - but really it is German-built and claims to be the world's fasted electric surfboard. The Lampuga is not the only one around - the market is actually growing quite well with other players like Waterwolf, Aquila, and Radinn surfboards.
The fastest electric surfboard
The Lampuga surf board seen above was recently shown at the Dusseldorf boat show. It claimed a top speed of 34 mph, making it the fastest electric surfboard currently on the market. It still does not beat the Aquila Carver which boasts 44 mph - but it's still in development so its claims should be taken with a grain of salt. It might not seem like much, but people riding the board report 30 mph to feel quite fast.
A quick look under the hood
So what is powering this board? A 15-hp drive using a brushless synchronous motor with energy coming from its 52-volt lithium-ion battery (probably very similar to packs used in electric bicycles - except the wheels are replaced with a propeller.) The battery is supposed to provide between 20 and 35 minutes of continuous use. Its range-limited like all other electric vehicles and will go 20 km before giving up.
Real-world use cases
While this run-time seems good - it is still lackluster when considering its real-world use case. A consumer pays between $5,000 and $20,000 for an electric surfboard, then "hauls" it to the beach, uses it for under 30 minutes, and that's it. You can't charge it at the beach easily - and even if you could it would still take an hour or two at its best. However, for those with cabins on the lake - the major frustrations are minimized, and for demographics like this an electric surfboard is very appealing.
Li-ion Battery and Charger
The high power charger available can reduce that to 60 minutes because it requires a 230 volt plug with a 16 amp minimum. This is possible with any standard 230 V household power outlet.
They do not publicize the total capacity of the batteries, but it's likely to be about 20 Ah (20,000mAh) like its cousin the Waterwolf electric surfboard which has a very similar speed and run-time.
Electric surfboards are certainly not in the minimalist spirit that most surfers really embrace. It's not like a reliable bamboo board that stays in the truck - but more like an expensive, under-powered jet ski for early adopters with a disposable income. As the price of lithium ion batteries comes down and the capacity increases, there will be more and more market demand for lithium ion batteries for electric surfboards and other electric water toys.
At the end of the day, these are really cool, and it should make you excited for the potential of lithium ion to impact our lives in unexpected ways.