Apr 10, 2018
Claude Beaulac is the VP of Sales and Marketing for the Canadian Electric Boat Company. I spoke with Claude just before it was announced that the CEBC was awarded the ‘Future of the Industry’ award at Quebec’s annual Marina Industry Gala.
The Canadian Electric Boat Company manufactures a line of 100% electric boats that do not produce any pollution or emissions. Powered by a lithium battery, CEBC boats can provide eight to twelve hours of use on a single charge. They are completely noiseless, handcrafted with high quality materials, and they even boast in their line the fastest electric boat in the world, the Bruce.
Claude has boated around the world throughout his career and currently enjoys his personal boating on a beautiful lake in Canada in a private preserve. We spoke about the boat building process, upcoming shows, how he got involved with the CEBC and more. Enjoy!
On boat show strategies.....We want to show the world we can build something different than what is already out there so we bring out the Volt 180 with several different possibilities of power options. We’re really proud of showing it and when we’ve showed it, everybody was impressed and looking forward to trying one. That’s the key to electric boats. People like the idea but didn’t know it existed so they are discovering the idea that it is there today, not just coming in the future. We’ll be at Newport Beach at the end of this month. We have a boat rental business there, the eboat rental. That’s a great location to test and try out all the things that we develop because seasons are better there than here in Montreal. So far we have been the novelty at all the shows.
On the electric boat experience.....Everybody gets very surprised because when we get started they feel like we’re drifting. You don’t feel anything or hear anything. It’s a comforting feeling once you’re on the water and know that you have control of the boat and you’re going at the proper speed, and you don’t hear any noise but the water flapping on the boat, and the wind.
On hurdles to electric boat adoption.....The first barrier is that people don’t even know that it can be done. That’s 90% of the people that come to us at a boat show. The next one is ‘what’s the autonomy?’. They’ve seen things in electric cars and think that cars need to be charged a lot and they think of the extreme. People think they’re going to be on the water all day and wonder if it is going to last. We tell them it’s going to last eight to twelve hours depending on the speed you run with it and they are flabbergasted. It’s a matter of educating people.
On the CEBC product line.....The Quietude and the Fantail are the biggest sellers. In the last four years we’ve seen some Bruce being sold and now we’ve got the Bruce T Version with Torqeedo. The Volt just came out and we’ve sold three so far and are expecting quite a few more as we work with cities who have eco-recreational programs.
On boating around the world.....I've traveled quite a bit and got to boat in different cities in Switzerland, Greece, Australia, and China. In my family there were no boats but we had friends with boats, and my first wife had a sailboat we went on quite a bit. Now we have a cottage and have a small boat that we go fishing with. It’s a reserve so it’s a protected area. There’s moose, there’s deer, there’s bears, there’s all sorts of things walking around. We catch a lot of Trout and Pike.
On his favorite boating destination.....The Caribbean is a great place to go, when you can see the bottom and all the fish swimming around. Up by our cottage, the water is clear and when the sun is in the right direction, you can see the bottom of the lake in a lot of places. I like to boat in those areas where you can see the marine life underneath you.
On his mission at CEBC.....It makes a difference in the world and that was one of my criteria. I want to work for a business that’s going to make a difference in the world. This was a perfect mix. It’s a big challenge which is always what I’ve been looking for in life. We have a plan and we’re acting our plan on a daily basis.
On improving standards for eboating.....We’ve met with the people at the NMMA and ABYC to make sure that they put a category for leisure electric boats into their system and that they have rules and regulations to apply to manufacturers so that there are no accidents that happen with electric boats. We want this to be safe. We’re a bunch of people who are concerned about the environment and the safety of people.
On what draws people to the water.....I think it’s the pleasure and the freedom that you feel when you are out on the water. You are completely in a different element. When you get onto the water it’s that good feeling that you’re floating and it’s effortless. There are many ways to do it and you have to pick what you feel best with and think about your real need. We hear all the horror stories of people who say 'I loved the boat when I bought it and I loved it when I sold it' because they didn’t buy the right boat for their need. A lot of people buy the lifestyle but never live it. Think about what you’re going to do with it and try it before you buy it.
I have enjoyed learning about electric boating through my conversation with Claude and previous conversation with Steve Trkla of Torqeedo. It is exciting to watch the developments in this segment of the industry and the possibilities of environmentally friendly boating continuing to grow will help make our natural waterways cleaner for generations to come!