Developing electric thrust systems for displacement boats. Electric thrust systems for displacement boats will increasingly become the standard for both commercial and recreation boats due to environment-friendliness and functionality perspectives. Such implementations are greener and all-electric systems enable simpler more sophisticated and more reliable control of a boat’s thrust navigation environmental and human support systems. With their > $100K costs current control technologies using internal combustion single and dual pod drives are complex and unaffordable systems for modest-cost cruising vessels. Small craft with propulsion systems that are inexpensive and effective in navigation can have great implications for the marine industry in terms of their advantages when docking in tight quarters or heavy currents. For manufacturers of electric vehicles or their components marine electric vehicles are interesting as a market to expand their business that is more profitable and often more open to innovation with a rapidly growing $2.3 billion market value. Marine Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (M-PHEV) is an all-electric high efficiency simple and robust marine drive train. The Marine Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (M-PHEV) developed by researchers at the University of Michigan represents a unique integration of an all-electric high efficiency simple and robust marine drive train. The configuration built as a combination of fully vectored (360º of vectored rotation) and lateral controllable thrust with full RPM control consists of the minimum number of propulsors to achieve complete lateral control. Hence a smart-controller has been designed to fully utilize this advantage to provide user selected motion in any combination of lateral and rotational horizontal motions (i.e. move sideways park in wind and currents move forward with translation rotate about axes etc.). This allows the M-PHEV technology to enable efficient low cost cruising with either all-electric power or diesel-electric assist and 3-axis joystick control for precision low-speed maneuvering in harbor and docking situations. Concept validation tests show that M-PHEV is a low cost and low complexity system for cruising motor vessels with 20’-40’ lengths of water line and where the advantages of low initial costs low operating costs high reliability and easy precision control are more important than achieving planing or semi-planing speeds.
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