The Zumwalt Class Lobster Boat

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This variable speed, salt-water cooled generator, may power all systems on a small boat: Prop included. But without directly spinning a transmission shaft.

An interesting early look at a new “transmission-less” propulsion option crept out of Europe earlier this year. Netherlands-based Hybrid Power Systems announced a variable-speed, saltwater-cooled diesel generator that might open new powering options to smaller craft. The full specs are hazy. But from what we can see, this one motor could power not only batteries, but all the power systems on a small boat. Meaning, that pesky central prop shaft, that runs from the back of the engine through the hull, and to the propeller would be gone. Instead, a quiet, all-electric coil would drive the boat. And that’s a sound we’d like to hear.