Near-silent outboard motors are behind some of the amazing images being enjoyed by millions in Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II TV series
Environmentally friendly and almost silent outboard motors are behind some of the amazing images being enjoyed by millions in Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II TV series.
Torqeedo’s electric outboards were chosen by the producers for their ability to provide the transport for the camera teams in their natural habitat without disturbing the animals with either noise or pollution.
The high-tech ultra-light outboards combine lithium batteries with leading-edge motor technology and propeller design to offer greater range.
The BBC’s desire to preserve the environment led them to approach Germany-based Torqeedo back in 2014. Choosing the Travel 1003 model – with its rechargeable batteries and solar panel for recharging in the field – they then filmed pink river dolphins, jaguars and other elusive jungle animals.
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Providing impressive performance with the simplicity of a low maintenance and low voltage system, the crew were able to get up close and personal with the creatures. Having near-silent power for their boats ensured they could do so without disturbing or distressing them.
“We were keen to get as close to the animals in their natural environment as possible, but their wellbeing and safety will always come first,” said Tom Crowley of the BBC Natural History Unit.
“The Travel 1003 model was so easy and simple to use, it allowed us to concentrate on the most important factor – filming these gorgeous creatures,” he said.
The team used the Torqeedo motors to film jaguars in Brazil from their boat in the river. Electric outboards are easy to lift, stow and carry, almost silent in use and cheap to run. Vastly improved battery technology, cleanliness, reliability and low maintenance costs give the motors great appeal to boaters.
Torqeedo claim their electric outboards challenge the petrol motors’ efficiency of around 10%, providing in excess of 50% efficiency.
Their engines achieve the same power as a petrol outboard without the risk of leaking fuel and emissions, they say.
Torqeedo products are currently available in over 40 countries world-wide.
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