The system will make its debut on the new Hanse 315 e-motion. It was developed by Hanse in conjunction with fellow German company Torqeedo, a leader in electric propulsion, and Jefa, the Danish steering specialists and rudder manufacturers.
On the face of it, the rudder drive is a blindingly simple alternative to conventional electric drives, which transmit power through a shaft and propeller or through a saildrive leg. The electric motor is the same as that in Torqeedo’s Cruise 4.0 outboard.
On the Hanse 315, the motor is powered by a bank of four lithium-ion batteries. According to Hanse, these provide enough energy to drive the boat at 4.5 knots in flat water for 30 miles and 6 knots for shorter bursts. The battery bank can be recharged in 3 hours, either plugged into shore power or by using the propeller to charge while under sail.
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The installation on the Hanse 315 saves 220lb over the conventional diesel engine and eliminates the maintenance issues associated with diesels. With no saildrive leg, drag is also reduced. More importantly, with no prop walk or delay associated with prop wash reaching the rudder blade from a saildrive, maneuverability is greatly enhanced—the boat will spin in its own length going ahead or astern, and procedures like springing off a dock or backing into a tight slip will take on a whole new dimension.
At the moment Hanse is only offering Rudder Drive on the 315, but it’s expected eventually to filter up the range.