Electric boats offer major advantages for beginner and experience boaters alike. But cleaner, quieter and more enjoyable boating often comes with a seriously hefty price tag. Or at least it used to, before the Veer X13 was announced earlier this week.
Compared to the prices we’re used to seeing, the Veer X13 is a welcome change.
We’ve seen somewhat lower cost model announcements recently, like the X Shore 1 at US $139,000 or the POL Lux at US $135,000. But even those prices are out of reach for the casual boater that just wants to go fishing on the weekends without scaring off the fish or inhaling exhaust fumes.
That’s where the electric Veer X13 comes in, which is priced at… TBA. Ok, so the company hasn’t shared pricing details for the electric version of the boat yet, but Veer unveiled two versions of the boat with the ICE-powered version carrying a 9.9 hp outboard engine starting at just $11,995. The company hasn’t shared pricing on the more interesting electric version yet, but expect to be able to buy around 10 of them for the price of even the cheapest electric boats above.
So how did they do it? Well, they basically just give you much, much less boat.
The Veer X13 isn’t a 30-ft luxury speedboat like most of the other big name electric vessels on the market.
Instead, it’s a 13 ft (4 m) two-seater meant for you an a partner to enjoy a minimalist day on the water.
It’s also not produced from hand-laid carbon fiber or fancy formed aluminum like other big-dollar electric boats. The X13 is manufactured from rotomolded polyethylene. That’s basically the way they make kayaks, and is a cost effective way to produce large and hollow plastic parts like boat hulls. If you’ve ever wondered why a canoe costs 3-4x the price of a kayak on average, there you go.
But the Veer X13 is much more than a kayak. And it also includes more. The boat comes with a galvanized trailer as part of the price, making it easy for new boaters to get started right away.
The X13 uses the newly unveiled Mercury Avator 7.5e electric outboard motor, which makes sense as Veer was started by Mercury’s parent company Brunwick.
The Avator 7.5e is a fairly low power system with just a 750W continuous-rated motor and a peak power rating of 1,000W.
Mercury claims that the electric outboard performs closer in speed and acceleration to a Mercury 3.5hp FourStroke outboard thanks to the higher torque and better performance of electric motors compared to gas engines.
The outboard motor uses 1 kWh battery packs that slide in and out of the unit for easy swapping. A single 48V battery is said to be good for 45 minutes when motoring flat out, or longer at reduced speeds. Carrying a second or third battery makes it easy to stay out longer or travel farther distances. The 16-pound (7 kg) batteries are around the size of a small gas can that many boaters are used to keeping on board.
The electric outboard includes a multipurpose tiller handle that can adjust up, down, left, or right for comfortable steering from any position or with either hand. It also folds down to become a convenient carrying handle when removing the outboard to carry it away from the boat.
As much as I’ve enjoyed covering and test riding some of the fanciest and most powerful electric boats hitting the market over the last few years, I know that luxury electric boats aren’t going to make the kind of quick impact we need in the boating community. It’s affordable electric boats that will actually displace the polluting smaller vessels that are so popular on lakes, rivers and bays around the world.
Boats like this new electric Veer X13 have the potential to do just that. Most average Joe’s aren’t going to buy a $300,000 electric boat. But if they can get this sucker out there for $15,000, trailer included, now that might be tempting to a lot of folks who never thought they’d be able to own an electric boat before.
There needs to be something in between the high dollar luxury electric speedboats and the $1,000 underpowered Chinese electric boat I bought on Alibaba. And this could be it.