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Motor Boat and Yachting full review Dec 2021
See us at the Southampton Boat show
22nd August 2021
Review in Tech.no magazine
(translated from Norwegian)
With this electric boat engine, you do not have to carry a huge battery with you
4.5 kg gave us multiple hours of fishing.
Although it has its own charm to row the boat when you go out fishing, it is still nice to be able to use an electric motor instead. At the same time, some fresh water, such as one near the undersigned, will eventually ban the use of boat engines that run on fossil fuels. And then an electric drive is the only solution if you do not want to take the years.
Electric motors for boats have been on the market for a number of years, and are both compact and quiet. The biggest disadvantage has usually been that you have to carry a giant car battery with you to have enough power for a fishing trip of a few hours.
But there are alternatives. One of these comes from Thrustme and is called Kicker. An electric boat engine that has the battery included in the construction - and which weighs less than 4.5 kilograms in total. We have been testing this engine for a while to see if it can replace our traditional solution.
At the time of writing, the engine costs just under 13,000 kroner online.
Compact and robust
The engine, charger and other necessary equipment come in a handy bag that allows you to keep track of the charger and other things when you are not using the engine.
What strikes us first is how robust and compact the engine feels. And yet it is so light that you can easily pick it up and hold it with one hand. The engine is partly made of hard plastic and aluminum, and there is little to complain about the build quality here.
During our test period, we were unlucky and had to pull a relatively thick multifilament tendon into the propeller, and the result was that the plastic protection in front of the propeller broke at a couple of points. And only that. The advantage is then shown by the fact that by loosening three screws you can easily replace this part. A smart solution once the accident is out.
Out of the bag, you do not need to mount anything more than the handlebar of the engine. The rest is ready for use, ie a remote control and a deadman button, which are the only two loose parts if you disregard the handle.
Attaching the engine to the boat is no art. This is done by placing the mounting bracket over the mount on the boat and tightening with two large hand clamps. You just turn it until it fits properly, and much more you do not have to worry about.
With the engine screwed on, you have a separate lever on the mounting bracket that you pull in to release, so you can tilt the stem into the water. One thing that is worth noting here is that you, at least during our test period, have to put the engine handle sideways when you pull it out of the water again to get the whole engine up. This can certainly vary depending on how the boat is constructed and how deep you choose to have the propeller in the water.
You also have a tightening screw on the side of the bracket that determines how loosely and freely the motor can be swung. After some use, we came to the conclusion that it was best to tighten this to a part, so that the engine could keep a steady course without too much supervision. But this will of course be up to each individual to adapt to their own needs.
A little nervous deadman button
To turn on the engine, put a deadman button on the left side of the engine. This is magnetic, and should quickly prove to be a small annoyance for us. It is in fact very badly fitted, so that it takes very little before it is snapped off, which in turn will make the engine stop.
It is by all means important that the dead man's button works properly, but here it could easily have stuck better. If you have the cord attached to the arm, you must sit extra carefully so that the button is not pulled out.
With the button in place, the screen and engine come to life. You have a decent and clear screen that shows the battery life in percent, as well as a simple indication of how much "gas" you give forward or backward. The screen withstands sunlight well and is never difficult to read.
A little unfamiliar at first
Below the screen is a remote control with three buttons on. Forward, stop and backward. Very simple and straightforward. If you are used to a traditional gas roller on a steering cult, it will take some time to get used to this solution.
As with many other electric motors, the steering handle sits straight out from the center of the motor. In other words, you can not sit in the middle of the boat and steer without keeping your hands behind your back. On traditional boat engines, the cult often sits on one side of the engine so you can sit with your hand on the side and steer.
The handy thing is that you can easily unhook the remote control and rather sit with it in your hand when you drive, if it suits you better. The response from the control is good, and there is no significant delay from the time you press the buttons until the engine has responded.
Works very well for light boats
Then there was the capacity. At first glance, we thought that it might be tough to push the boat forward, since it has such a small propeller. It is the size of a traditional cabinet fan for PC. But this turned out to be no problem. Especially not if you have a slightly smaller boat. For our part, the engine was mostly used with a 14-foot aluminum boat - and these two fit well together.
You have six steps with power to choose from, and in quiet conditions and with two well-grown people in the boat, the speed was between 1.8 knots at the lowest speed and just around four knots at the highest. Note, however, that by turning down the power a notch or two, the speed will not fall particularly much - something that may be worth keeping in mind if you want to haul as much driving time out of this engine.
We also tested this engine for the sake of order on a larger boat, an 18-foot archipelago jeep, since the manufacturer itself writes that it can be used on models up to 20 feet. It went well enough, but you can not expect the battery to keep boiling to the same degree if you try to push a larger boat forward at something of the same speed. Especially not when it quickly weighs many times as much as the light aluminum boat we tested with first.
One thing we notice, which probably comes as a result of the small propeller, is that it makes a slightly more high-frequency major than what we are used to from our old, faithful Minn Kota engine. At the same time, it should be said that aluminum boats provide some resonance from the engine and water. Still, there is no troublemaker we are dealing with.
Decent battery capacity
One of the practicalities of this engine is that it has a built-in lithium battery. And should it be lacking with just this, there is an external battery with double the capacity of what is mounted in the engine to buy. This costs just under 5000 kroner and is easily connected to where you normally charge the engine.
During our test period, we often used the engine when we were out fishing. The engine was most often used in step one or two of the six you have to choose from. In the aluminum boat, the battery then held fine for between two and a half and three hours without the indicator showing that the battery was empty. If we used the larger boat, the battery ran out much faster, but we still managed to thin out just over an hour of use with the archipelago jeep.
When you turn to maximum power, the driving time will be reduced dramatically. Still, we managed to run at maximum power for about 30 minutes on the built-in battery on the smaller boat - despite the fact that the indicator showed that there was zero percent power left in the last five minutes. It seems to struggle a bit to give a precise indication of how much power is left if you vary a lot on the effect during a trip.
All in all, we would say that the battery capacity of the engine alone will give you enough range to go on a fishing trip of two to three hours if it is a relatively light 14 foot boat, and it does not blow too hard. If you also have an extra battery pack with you, you will hardly run out of many, many hours while you dodge the big catch.
For larger boats, this will be more than a relief engine that can let you go in and add silently at a comfortable speed. In practice, you can thus "simmer" around at low power for about an hour with only the battery in the engine. Then the question is of course if you really want it in a boat that is around 18 feet.
Thrustme Kicker is a robust electric motor that is best suited for slightly lighter and smaller boats. In our case, with a 14-foot aluminum boat, we got many hours of pleasure out of this engine - while we trotted out for the big fish.
So we would say that it is primarily best suited for this, or if you are going for a quick trip from the cottage and into the mainland "inland". As long as there are not too many waves, the engine is surprisingly strong, and has enough thrust that you can hold around four knots at maximum power with the boat we tested with.
If you plan to use it on larger boats, it will also have enough power here to give you decent propulsion, but the battery life is greatly reduced.
The engine itself is robust, and gives a good feeling of quality. And not least, it is easy. With less than 4.5 kilograms, there is no struggle to take this under the arm - something we can not say about our traditional solution where you always have to "drag" a car battery in addition to the engine.
One of the things we could wish for was better is the deadman button. It falls off too easily.
And the price is a lot higher than if you buy a traditional, affordable electric motor with a car battery next to it. But at the same time, we certainly see the pleasure of paying a little extra to get everything in such a compact and snappy solution as what Thrustme Kicker actually is.
Article and photo's by by Jarle Kvalheim / Tek.no
23rd July 2021
Green Mariner appointed Exclusive Thrustme distributor
Green Mariner are delighted to announce they have secured the exclusive distribution rights to the Thrustme range of electric engines for outboards, SUPs and tenders in the UK and ireland