The 48V Ecosystem: Why now is the time to switch

Date: 20th June


General News

In the sailing community, the buzz around the 48V power electronics ecosystem has been growing, and for good reason. As the benefits become more widely known, many sailors are asking: Is now the time to make the switch? The short answer is yes. A 48V system strikes a perfect balance between high efficiency and safety, offering numerous advantages that make it an attractive option for modern seafarers.

The benefits

Switching to a 48V system provides a host of benefits that enhance both the functionality and efficiency of vessels. Here are some key advantages:

  • Reduced cable cross-sectional area: As voltage goes up, current goes down. As the current goes down, wire sizes can be reduced. Practically, this means saving weight, reducing cost, and easing the installation process. See accompanying table for potential cost and weight savings.
  • Higher efficiency in AC inversion: Converting DC to AC is more efficient at 48V, resulting in less energy loss.
  • Better energy density with Lithium batteries: Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries perform optimally at higher voltages, offering improved energy density.
  • Enhanced charging efficiency: Systems like Integrel E-Power and solar panels charge more effectively at 48V.
  • Having a 48V system means boat owners can also use more efficient components onboard, including chargers and inverters, manageable cable sizes, and of course higher output alternators (like Integrel E-Power) in reasonable package sizes.
  • Weight savings: Thinner cables and higher energy density batteries reduce overall weight.
  • Improved efficiency for high-demand devices: Winches, windlasses, thrusters, and furlers all operate more efficiently at 48V.


Cable savings comparison for a 48V system with a 1200 Watt bow thruster

Saving type Cable length & width Comparison Voltage Percentage saving
Cost saving 5m cable, from 50mm² to 10mm² 12V to 48V 77% cost saving
Cost saving 5m cable, from 25mm² to 10mm² 24V to 48V 50% cost saving
Weight saving 5m cable, from 50mm² to 10mm² 12V to 48V 82% weight saving
Weight saving 5m cable, from 25mm² to 10mm² 24V to 48V 54% weight saving


The quest for energy independence

Why do people go cruising? The allure lies in the freedom, the serenity of nature, and the adventure of the open sea. A well-designed and efficient energy system extends the time cruisers can spend at sea, free from the constraints of shore power.

Alongside this, as boating technology progresses, our demand for creature comforts like air conditioning, hot water, and satellite connectivity grows. Meeting these demands efficiently requires a shift from traditional 12V and 24V systems to 48V. This shift isn’t just about keeping up with trends; it’s about embracing a more efficient and sustainable future. A 48V system supports this lifestyle by enabling longer periods at sea or off-grid at anchor without the constant need for noisy generators or engines.

A 48V System Set Up Example

How Integrel fits into a 48V system

Built around a 48V system, Integrel launched E-Power, an on-engine high output alternator that maximises battery charging capability, especially at low RPMs, making the propulsion engine the primary charging source. The E-Power controller maximises the efficiency of energy generation and storage to 48V batteries by constantly monitoring engine speed and load.

This technology is a game-changer for boaters, providing a significant leap in efficiency and performance. By taking advantage of excess engine power, Integrel E-Power delivers optimal energy without waste, enabling longer trips and reducing the reliance on additional power sources.

When launched in 2019, Integrel E-Power, built on a 48V platform, marked a significant shift in the marine industry. We continue to push the boundaries of 48V marine energy generation and now electric hybrid propulsion with our latest product, Integrel E-Drive. Installed between the engine and the gearbox, E-Drive delivers 15kW of power when generating and 20 hp when operating as an electric drive.

Integrel E-Power on a Yanmar Engine

The future

The marine industry is catching up with the demand for 48V systems, as high-draw devices like air conditioning units, winches, and inverters are now available in 48V configurations. This means it is becoming easier to transition to 48V systems, which is both practical and beneficial for boat owners, better aligning with the needs of modern sailors.

Conclusion: Make the switch

The advantages of a 48V system are clear: cost and weight savings, higher efficiency, and better performance. If you’re looking to upgrade your boat’s energy system, now is the perfect time to consider the switch to 48V. Embrace the future and enjoy the benefits of a more efficient, reliable, and sustainable energy solution.

Switching to a 48V ecosystem is not just a step forward; it’s a leap towards a more adventurous and independent sailing experience. The benefits far outweigh the challenges, making it an obvious choice for boating adventurers.

Contact us today!

Endless onboard power

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