Yamaha has started trials on a twin electric boat motor unit that is integrated with a unique sterndrive.
Yamaha calls Harmo its “next-generation control system platform” which includes self-contained electric rim motors, a remote-control box and a joystick ‘for more intuitive operation’. The company is hoping to offer Harmo as a total package for people, especially in Europe. Yamaha views the European market, with its thousands of kilometres of canals, as the primary market for the Harmo, although it has applications worldwide. Whitianga Waterways, Marsden Cove or Pauanui perhaps.
The motors are rim motors and rather than the propeller being driven through a central axle, the propellers are attached to the rim of the motor, which Yamaha prefers for this unit because strong thrust can be generated at low speeds.
The joystick and Harmo steering mechanism provide a large steering angle so that a boat can turn almost on the spot. For docking, merely tilting the joystick moves the boat horizontally. The other reason Yamaha is looking to Europe is because of the increasing restrictions on fossil fuel boats on inland waterways and a rising general environmental awareness.
In England, there are now an estimated 10,000 people in London alone who use canal boats as their principal residences. Amsterdam has a city ordinance that commercial boat traffic is electric by 2025, and the Venice 2028 Agenda is a petition to have Venice adopt similar rules.
Of course, all of the benefits of the Harmo system accompany the usual advantages of electric boat motors: significantly lower vibration and noise, and zero toxic and foul-smelling fumes.