Our Modular Battery Packs Enable a Scalable Electric Propulsion System

Our Modular Battery Packs Enable a Scalable Electric Propulsion System

We know that electric propulsion systems on sailboats eliminates fossil fuel emissions, and reduces noise pollution (both above and below the water).

We also know that an electric propulsion system can cost a little more up front, but over the life of the system there are major savings to be had.

Let’s consider the battery configuration, which can be a significant part of the up front cost, but also can be added as modules to the boat, over time.

The ability to expand the boats battery configuration with modules is a significant feature of the Newport electric propulsion system. It allows the expansion of batteries, over time, and in different locations within the boat.  Hence, not all batteries need to be purchased at the time of the initial installation, they can be added if and when it is determined, that more battery capacity would be worth having (e.g. for longer cruising journeys).

The multiple LFP battery packs are all still managed by the system, and look like a single battery on the EVMS cockpit computer.  The EVMS onboard computer is configured to show the multiple LFP packs as a single pack (however details on each pack is available when battery details are selected).

By allowing a chain of batteries to be added to the boat, and managed by the system as a single battery, power system expansion is relatively simple.

Having said that, each LFP battery must be fully secured to the boat, in such a was as to prevent anything with or around the battery from moving.  Sailboats frequently “heal” or lean by at least 45 degrees when sailing on a beam reach, and often times that angle can be greater, like 60 or more degrees.  In addition to this, other motions like waves and swells can add to the overall movement of the boat.  Because of this, battery placement and fastening is a very important consideration during the battery system installation process.

Our solution to fastening LFP packs securely, has been to mount each pack under a bench in the saloon of the boat. Our packs have a hard plastic top and bottom plate.  We make a custom 1/2″ plywood “floor stand” by cutting and building it to match the footprint of the bench floor with cleats that fit around the LFP pack securely, and bottom feet that provide a run-way under the battery.  Then, any plumbing or electrical lines that need to be routed through this area of the interior, can be run under the floor stand run-way.  The LFP pack is then strapped to the floor and the floor stand using heavy strap and select holes in the interior flooring (inside the saloon bench floor).

Per the ABYC standards, over current protection is always in-line with the LFP pack, near the pack, and other electrical lines and protection are also installed.

Each pack is equipped with its own BMS, and its own charger, which are also mounted securely.  This ensures a level of modularity that is helpful during installation, and adds redundancy and has other safety benefits.

Walt White

Founder and lead systems engineer, working to bring new products to market that make a positive impact to the environment. Our products and services help boats make the switch to battery electric propulsion, harness renewable energy, and solve other challenges involving marine electric propulsion systems.

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