Normally, when we talk about electric vehicles, we think of something with wheels. Cars, mini-cars, e-bikes, scooters, and other such things are where most of the action is at. Sometimes we even talk about aviation, where electrification is only beginning its journey toward being mainstream (and there are some significant hurdles between here and there). But I have to admit that I didn’t know how close small boats were to going electric.
That all changed when I came across a blog post by Mercury Marine announcing a new electric outboard motor. At the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Mercury Motors proudly presented its all-new Avator™ 7.5e electric outboard — a revolutionary accomplishment, as it is both the first of its kind from Mercury and one of many slated to be released that year! On display were also two more models currently being developed: The powerful Avator 20e and 35e outboards.
“What an exciting moment for Mercury,” said Jim Hergert, senior category manager for small outboards at Mercury. “We have an incredible history as the leader in outboard technology, and the Avator family builds on our legacy. In fact, the name ‘Avator’ is both a nod to our past and a look to our future. It’s a blend of ‘Advanced’ and ‘Thor.’ Thor was the first outboard ever from Mercury. It was a small portable model that kicked off the brand and led to so many exciting innovations. Thor has a lot of parallels with the Avator program. We’re creating an entirely new family of electric outboards that will redefine the category.”
You won’t have to wait long until you can get your hands on the Avator 7.5e electric outboard, which will be available for purchase later this year in both tiller and remote control models. For those who opt for the tiller model, its portability is enhanced by a folding handle that doubles as a carrying handle and an innovative quick-connect mounting system for attaching it to transom brackets. Boat owners with helms of varying styles should take note of the three different control options offered with the remote models. Every product is powered by an easily exchangeable lithium-ion battery pack, which was created in collaboration with the battery experts at Mastervolt.
“By developing interchangeable batteries, we were able to give boaters the ability to outfit themselves with enough power to enjoy more fun adventures,” said Hergert. “With any electric mobility system, range and runtime are impacted by many factors. In this case, they’re dependent on the boat, load, operating speed, water conditions and more. Most anglers and casual boaters who operate at varied speeds and make frequent stops should have plenty of runtime for an exciting trip on the water. Boaters who need to stay out longer or go farther can bring along an extra battery. Swapping batteries literally only takes seconds.”
Boaters can conveniently charge their batteries overnight with the included charger, or take advantage of additional high-speed chargers for a faster recharge time. Each and every charger is compatible with a typical household outlet.
The new outboards are also going to be powerful and efficient. To convert the battery power into something practical, Mercury equipped the Avator 7.5e outboard with a transverse flux motor — an advanced and highly effective technology that offers boat owners several advantages. Though it may seem futuristic, this type of motor is well-proven; boaters can rest assured knowing they have reliable efficiency and performance on their side.
“One of the main reasons we chose to be the first to use transverse flux technology in this application is because of its high torque density,” said Andrew Przybyl, the Mercury engineer leading the Avator development team. “The motor can generate instant torque at low rpm. Because of that, we were able to design a large-diameter three-blade prop that spins slower, which is better for efficiency and overall performance. The result is faster 0-4 mph acceleration and higher efficiency than similar competitive outboards. Efficiency is the name of the game in electrification, and the Avator 7.5e outboard was designed to give you the most out of every electron.”
The Avator 7.5e outboard is designed to be an optimal performer, delivering 750W of power at the prop shaft while keeping up with one of Mercury’s 3.5hp FourStroke models in terms of speed and acceleration — making it perfect for use on a variety of small boats such as micro skiffs, jon boats, aluminum fishing vessels, rigid inflatables and kayaks/canoes fitted with appropriate transoms. For larger boat owners or sailors looking to run a tender vessel without consuming fuel or investing too much time into maintenance procedures — they will find tremendous value in the Avator system.
Boasting the same Mercury outboard features as other models, the Avator 7.5e seamlessly integrates into your boat’s entire propulsion system. You can easily manage and monitor it all via a digital display, making control of the system effortless.
Mercury elevated readability to the next level with its vivid, full-color display that’s designed for optimal viewing in any light. Any important information like battery life is front and center for an effortless glance. The button controls make it easy to find whatever features or data you’re looking for. You can even use the internal GPS receiver on this device to provide accurate range estimations while exploring.
“The controls and the display are the connection points to the Avator system,” said Hergert. “That’s why we put so much emphasis into creating a simple, intuitive user experience. On tiller models, the display is integrated on the outboard, making it a true portable system with no additional cables to connect. Remote Avator models get paired with dash displays for easy visibility at the helm.”
If you’re a boater and desire further insight into your vessel’s conditions, then the Avator outboard family is for you! It comes with an all-new Mercury Marine app available on iOS and Android, free to download. This provides basic attributes accessible to any Avator 7.5e user; yet if you wish even more access, there’s also the SmartCraft Connect module that can be added onto your outboard engine. Through this app, you’ll have access to digital gauges, GPS mapping (with visualized range estimates), notifications in full detail alongside tutorials too, plus connecting directly with a preferred Mercury Authorized Dealer.
To delve into the intricacies of Avator’s high-powered propulsion system and inspect their developing accessories, view the detailed product page for Avator 7.5e here.
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