Highfield Boats enters electric era with two models
The leading aluminium RIB builder has introduced two 11ft models with electric propulsion systems from companies in New Zealand and China.
Highfield’s E Jet 330 is a collaboration with Zero Jet
Highfield Boats, which produced a record 10,000 aluminium-hulled RIBs in 2022, debuted its first electric models at Boot Dusseldorf, one sporting a system from New Zealand’s ZeroJet, the other using an outboard from Chinese company ePropulsion.
Measuring 11ft overall and 6ft wide, the E Jet 330 has a 15kW (20hp) jet drive system from ZeroJet and an impressive top speed of 25 knots.
The electric jet drive from ZeroJet
The RIB has a range of 23nm and 12nm at three knots and 14 knots respectively, although lasts only an hour at 14 knots and requires a 2hr 40min charge time.
The E Jet 330 has practically no draught due to the electric jet drive, so can skim over shallow ecosystems and easily ‘beach’, while no exposed propeller increases safety for swimmers.
The E Jet 330 has a top speed of 25 knots
The ZeroJet jet pump and compact electric motor weigh 50 per cent less than a comparable outboard motor, while the 48V LiFePO4 batteries (10kWh) are housed inside a waterproof battery case under the deck.
Designed to carry up to five people, the E Jet 330 has a side-mounted steering system and LCD display, an adjustable helm bench seat, a seat/locker in the bow, and further space on the tubes.
The Classic 340E developed with China’s ePropulsion
Highfield has also developed the Classic 340E, an electric version of the Classic 340 using a Navy 6.0 Evo electric outboard motor (6kW/9.9hp) from ePropulsion.
The 11ft 2in boat has a beam of 5ft 7in and a top speed of 10 knots, recharging in 7hrs 10mins with one charger and 3hrs 40 mins with two chargers. Both the E Jet 330 and Classic 340E weigh about 225kg and are Category C.
The Classic 340E has a 6kW electric outboard
New Highfield models for 2023 also include the Sport 600, 660, 700, 760 and 900, plus the Patrol 700. The company has a production facility in China’s Shandong province and its ranges include Sport (3m-9m), Patrol (4.2m-8.6m), Classic (2.6m-4.6m) and Ultralite (2.2m-3.4m). The French-owned RIB builder is distributed in over 45 markets and its network of dealers includes Simpson Marine.