For those planning a summer day on the waterways of Lake Michigan, there’s a new ecological option that will help you spend the day boating in sustainable style. Located on the lake’s eastern shore, Retro Boat Rentals has unveiled a collection of fiberglass boats from the 50s and 60s that have been restored using state-of-the-art electric motors. The vintage boat rentals have retained their cool retro aesthetic while updating to a more eco-friendly way of boating.
When Retro Boat Rentals owner John Sharar decided to start the company, he knew that he wanted to restore a collection of old boats dating back to the 50s and 60s. Realizing that the boats’ original gas motors were incredibly harmful to the environment, he sought out an ecological way to restore the fleet.
After exploring various options, he made contact with the team from Torqeedo, a pioneering marine electric propulsion motor manufacturer. Working in collaboration with Torqeedo, John restored the vintage boats to their original glory, with electric motors that don’t distract from the boats’ cool retro vibe.
“John came up with the idea of removing the old gas motor from its casing and replacing it with a compact Torqeedo motor coupled to a custom-designed sail drive pod,” Steve Trkla, president of Torqeedo, Inc., said. “He attended Torqeedo training and worked with Torqeedo engineers to modify various motor brands. The electric motor is driven by a Torqeedo lithium-ion battery in the boat.”
The boats vary in size and weight, so the Torqeedo electric systems are custom-designed for each boat. All of the electric motors provide between eight to 10 hours of run time between charges — more than enough, considering most customers rent the boats for just two or three hours.
Today, families and couples can enjoy renting the unique, classic boats that, thanks to the new electric motors, glide quietly on the water without contaminating the environment.