Production set to begin on Loon solar-electric boat


February 8, 2011

Tamarack Lake Electric Boats is set to begin full-scale production of its Loon solar-electric boat

Tamarack Lake Electric Boats is set to begin full-scale production of its Loon solar-electric boat

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Five years ago we first reported on Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company's Loon, a proposed production solar-electric boat. At that time, creator Monte Gisborne told us that “exhausting hydrocarbons directly into your own lake isn’t much different from urinating in your family room.” In 2009 the 8-passenger watercraft received a design overhaul, and production was scheduled to begin later that year. Now, with a just-announced deal in place to manufacture the boat at facilities in the city of Rome, New York, full-scale Loon production should finally be commencing within the next few months.

The current version of the Loon is 22 feet (6.7 meters) long, with a beam of 7’4” (2.24 meters), and a resin-infused fiberglass hull. Its 48-volt lead-acid battery is charged via 115 or 220-volt mains power, to in turn power a 5.5 hp motor – a 1,000-watt rooftop solar array helps extend the boat’s range, which sits at over 50 miles (80.5 km). It has a cruising speed of 6.5 knots (7.5 mph/12 kph) and a top speed of 8 knots (9.5 mph/15.3 kph).

The company will also continue to produce the Osprey, its 30-passenger all-electric boat.

Should you be interested, Tamarack is now taking US$500 deposits on its new Loons. The complete price will be $32,500.

All images courtesy Tamarack Electric Boat Company.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

why did they call it a loon? Because you\'d have to be a loonie to buy it?

Boats take a lot of energy to move, to overcome friction. Carting around a heap of lead as well won\'t help. Looks like you won\'t get anywhere quick in one of these.

So the extra energy required to cart around that lead all the time will mean it takes more energy to move than a normal boat, and therefore since energy isn\'t free, and probably came from a nuclear plant (if in Italy).

Nice and green, but hey at least all that waste isn\'t going into the lake. Just somewhere else.

I get sick of all the marketing bollocks about zero emissions. Until the input energy is zero emissions, then consumption cannot be.


get rid of the lead Acid batteries and chuck in some NiMh or Lithium ion and it could be worth while

David Anderton

Actually for put-putting around the lake and all that - this is a brilliant idea. Even more so that most boats spend most of their time moored.

A better range of speed for rivers etc., I think is a necessity - and the ability to tap off the excess power to feed other vessels and utilities would be an advantage.

I\'s also be inclined to stick on a much bigger - as in wider and longer roof.... so it\'s more of a car port, rather than a car roof....

Living in the land of the highest skin cancer rate in the world...

Mr Stiffy

Good application of solar energy.

Dr.a.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh

What is wrong with a sailing boat? No batteries required. All right . Sometimes the wind doesn\'t blow. How about a set of oars? Very eco-friendly. The price is huge!


@Adrien: from a nuclear plant in Italy?????

Francesco Baldacchini

The reason we who build advanced solar devices do what we do is because the world needs to stop burning OIL, coal & nukes.

We leaders are pushing solar to save the world from those who drive cars.

Cuba is now building solar powered boats.

Paul Kangas
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