BlueNav’s BlueSpin retractable motors are electric drives that fit aboard vessels with outboard engines. They give owners a hybrid propulsion system that uses the boat’s internal-combustion engines (ICE) for high-speed work, as well as the electric motors for slow-speed work (up to 8 knots). In electric mode, operations are silent and vibration-free, such as around marina docks.
The electric motors are powered by lithium-ion batteries. The propeller and lower unit retract into a cassette-style trunk for improved hydrodynamics when the vessel is operating in ICE mode.
The biggest design challenge was creating a solution for the marine environment, says Hervé Frouin, BlueNav’s founder and chief technology officer. “In a single BlueSpin, there are four electric [motors], which have to live in the seawater” or other types of water, he says. BlueNav’s system had to be able to handle marine growth—including algae and oysters—while reliably communicating with a networked multifunction display and BlueNav-provided joystick and thrust-control levers.
BlueSpin retractable motors can be added in-build or as an aftermarket upgrade. Frouin says they have been fitted onto yachts up to 42 feet; however, the length overall will increase as bigger motors become available.
BlueNav also builds the BlueSpin Inhull motor, providing hybrid solutions aboard cruising sailboats, and the BlueSpin Stationary motor, which is designed to work aboard inboard-powered motoryachts. BlueSpin motors articulate through 180 degrees and come in multiple power configurations (15, 20, 30 and—soon—50 kW).
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