In the summer of 2008, as part of a Washington state registration process for the family gas-powered wooden boat, affectionately christened the Swe'Pea, Joe and Linda Grez had to place a mandatory Co2 warning sticker on the small runabout. Proximity of the gas motor near their young daughter gave them pause.
On that 14' boat, everyone was seated close to the loud, polluting motor.
Joe Grez, an experienced consumer product developer with a degree in physics and portfolio of US patents, was passionate about well-designed marine products. His career ranged from engineering solar panels to leading teams developing breakthrough consumer products for Philips Sonicare and L'Oreal.
On that summer day in 2008, he took a long look at the required Co2 warning label and decided the choice was to not expose young Anna to a gas motor on that boat. Period. Full stop.
Joe immediately set about to convert Swe'Pea from gas to full electric power.
In planning his conversion of the Swe' Pea, Joe expected to take advantage of her easily-driven hull shape as well as the new accessible technologies for batteries, motors and electronic controllers. Establishing speed and range expectations using the natural needs of a displacement hull shape eased decisions in selecting power levels and battery sizes for his conversion project.
The new electric drive system he devised was 110 lbs. heavier than the 4-stroke gasoline setup on Swe' Pea, but her trim was much improved and maximum speed was still acceptable at 5 knots with typical cruising at 4 knots.
Range was highly dependent on speed and battery usage. With a full charge at top speed Swe' Pea's full throttle range was only 8 nautical miles (about 1.5 hours of use). But at 4 knots, her range more than doubled to 18 nautical miles and at 3 knots, it was 34 nautical miles. Charging time from a full discharge was 8 hours using dockside electricity.
Equally important to great propulsion performance, Joe and his family quickly realized the electric boating experience was dramatically better in certain ways. With less noise, fumes, and smoke they could enjoy the natural sounds, smells and sights of the vistas around them.
The tranquility of the experience and the connection to nature were enhanced and restored. Conversations with family and friends opened up as they were able to hear each other. It was a transformational experience.
As an accomplished consumer product innovator, Joe knew he could take what he learned in converting Swe' Pea to electric and design an entirely new outboard electric system for powering the smallest of boats - dinghies, canoes and kayaks. The project taught Joe about the unique portability, safety and ergonomic challenges of electric motor systems for small boats.
His industrial design inspiration was the simple yet elegant paddle shape, since many small boats were originally hand-paddled or rowed. The first Electric Paddle prototype motors were compact, lightweight and easy to use. PropEle Electric Boat Motors, Inc. was incorporated.
With learning from the initial test market product, Joe set out to provide more power in a new system to serve a larger range of boats. After beefing up the design, he assembled a strong Team to manufacture the new system using advanced electronics technology, a lightweight Lithium battery, and a unique patented design to achieve a new standard. The flagship EP Carry is the most lightweight and easy to use portable electric outboard boat motor available, providing a more enjoyable boating experience.