An electric rudder is how Slovenian company Remigo describes its new Remigo One electric outboard, and it's an excellent description because that’s basically exactly what it is. Hugo Andreae takes one for a test drive...
Rather than the conventional outboard engine profile (even electric outboards typically just swap the integrated fuel tank of a small outboard for an integrated battery in the same location), this is just a big long rudder with everything bar the tiller and propeller neatly integrated within, oblivating the need for external cables.
The ‘rudder’ is a long, slim, waterproof marine-grade aluminium casing that houses an integrated 1,085 Wh Li-Ion battery and smart battery management module.
It is clamped by a two-part mounting system that can be positioned at any height up or down the casing, allowing the shaft length to be anywhere between 15 and 30 inches, effectively making all of them a short shaft, extra long shaft or anywhere in-between depending on where you clamp it.
It has a multi-function tiller/handle that is used to steer and control the outboard when in use, but also doubles as a handy carrying handle when folded. At the base of the unit is a 1,000W brushless DC motor with 30kg of thrust (roughly equivalent to 3hp).
The idea behind the two-part mounting system is that you can clamp one part to the transom of the boat and the other to the outboard. This creates a very simple mounting system whereby one just slips onto the other which, given this is the bit where outboards occasionally get dropped into the oggin, never to be seen again, is a good thing.
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The fact it weighs just 12kg helps here too. Unusually, motor speed, and indeed the ability to shift between forward and reverse, is controlled by two buttons on the top of the rudder rather than by the tiller (normally via a twist grip) – as is traditional.
That may seem less ergonomically sound, but Remigo says it was “an outcome of many extensive tests with users” (using a custom-made boat steering simulator and test rides).
It certainly makes sense: tap the button toward the front of the unit to increase speed forward, tap the rear button to decrease speed until you reach zero, at which point continuing to tap will start the motor going slowly backwards and gradually increase speed as you keep tapping. Pressing both buttons together kills the motor at any speed (as does the magnetic kill cord).
It’s certainly preferable to forgetting which way to twist the throttle to speed up or slow down, which can be exciting when you’re in close proximity to other boats (yes, I’ve been there…).
Remigo says it should have about 14 miles of range at 3 knots on a typical tender (at maximum speed, about 5 knots, expect an hour of run time, so 5nm). A standard AC wall socket will recharge it in 6 hours.
Remigo One specifications
Top speed: 5 knots
Range: 14nm @ 3 knots*
*Our estimated range figures in the video assumed 50% power consumption at 50% of top speed. Remigo have clarified that the unit only uses 30% of power at 50% of top speed, hence the higher range figures quoted here.