Electric Jet Ski vs. Gas Powered Jet Ski Comparison [Video]
Electric jet skis arrived on the market sooner than we thought. Because of this, many buyers want to discover these new electric-powered models and also want to compare them to the regular gas-powered crafts.
There are also a lot of rumors around them, so you probably have several questions. Are electric jet skis durable? How many hours can they run with a charge? Are they cost-effective?
It’s safe to say that it’s a new technology, so many details are still unclear. The good news is that the first models will arrive on the market in 2020, so this means they’re already available for pre-order!
To help your buying decision, we at JetDrift have collected facts about the main pros and cons of electric jet skis in this post!
The Pros of Electric Jet Skis
Many people welcome electric jet skis (and vehicles in general) due to their zero emissions. Although they’ll probably be more eco-friendly, it’s wise to take a closer look at this issue.
It’s commonplace nowadays that the main advantages of many electric vehicles are their much lower emissions and environmental impact, emphasizing their “zero emissions”.
Although it’s clear that electric vehicles are better for the environment since they don’t need gas, oil changes, and many parts to replace, let’s face it, to achieve zero emissions is simply impossible. Instead, they have high indirect emissions!
First, manufacturing the jet ski itself requires a lot of energy, raw material, and causes a lot of pollution. Then come the batteries that need to be replaced occasionally. Even if they’ll be recycled, they have a high environmental impact, too.
Beyond that, there’s electricity, as in United States, it’s still mainly made from natural gas and coal. So even if your jet ski uses electricity, it still pollutes–but just shifts the emissions from the water to the power plants. However, these power plants have much better fuel efficiency compared to combustion engines.
Then there are the many other polluting factors like towing, cleaning, purchasing accessories and others related to owning a jet ski. So let’s face it, electric jet skis are far away from zero-emissions, but as this new technology becomes more common, it will become more efficient.
Conclusion: Even if the electric jet skis have a lower environmental impact compared to the regular models, they still have a really noticeable environmental impact. If you are afraid about your environmental footprint it’s best if you choose a non-motorized vessel instead!
One of the main complaints against jet skis is their noise pollution, as they are very noisy, especially when they repeatedly jump out of the water. (Supercharged engines can be really loud!) This annoying noise is disturbing for some jet ski owners, while others really like it, and install an open exhaust system for more boost.
Even if you like your jet ski’s sound, it can disturb your neighbors near your lake house, other boaters on the water or just simply the people on the beaches or piers.
This is where the electric jet skis show their main advantage: they are really quiet.
You can see some articles again about how these electric jet skis will be completely silent. Let’s face it; this won’t be true, as they definitely make some noise, however much less compared to the regular models.
Conclusion: Electric jet skis are much quieter, so they make significantly less noise pollution. If you don’t like the loud engines – or just simply want to be respectful of your neighbors–the electric jet skis are for you.
Electric Jet Skis are Less Dangerous
They are powered with gas which can endanger you in many ways. Gas is flammable, so it’s a source of danger in liquid form, but if gas vapors accumulate inside the jet ski’s hull due to a small leak, your jet ski can even explode!
That’s why you shouldn’t overlook regular maintenance and the pre-ride checklist if you have a regular gas-powered PWC. Beyond the gas problems, the jet ski’s engine can explode due to several malfunctions. However, even if these issues happen really rarely, they certainly are possible.
Conclusion: If you are afraid of riding on a fully loaded gas tank and a 250-300 HP combustion engine, you can consider an electric jet ski. If you choose a battery-powered model, you don’t have to be afraid of similar situations.
Experts say that the main advantage of the electric jet ski models is that there is little-to-no maintenance. Trailering the jet ski for yearly service is always a hassle, so it would be much better if this could be avoided! Winterization is not an issue with a batter-powered jet ski, as they are lack of exhoust or intercooler and cooled with closed-loop cooling.
What’s more, jet skis are used rarely (typically 30 hours per year) but then their engines get a lot of abuse! Such use is really bad for a combustion engine in many ways, so using an electric engine makes sense in a jet ski.
So, at first glance, these “no maintenance needs” slogans sound really good, until you really need it. Just imagine if you have a smaller issue with your jet ski, or it just sucked up a rope or rock and you need to have it checked by a mechanic.
As regular jet ski repair shops are found in every corner, if you have a regular model, it can be inspected or even fixed easily. But if your jet ski is electric-powered, it means the majority of the service shops are unlikely to work on it.
What’s more, if it’s still under warranty you have to take it to your dealer in any case which could be very far away!
Conclusion: According to the advertisements, electric jet skis offer much less maintenance. If real-life experiences prove this, that will mean jet ski owners will have a lot less hassle!
Trendy and Interesting
Let’s be honest, jet skis are really cool and many jet ski owners enjoy showing off and standing out from the crowd. At this moment, there are 1.5 million regular gas-powered jet skis in the U.S. and if you don’t want yours to be the next, you can consider an electric-powered model.
If you like curious stares, you can be sure that your electric jet ski will get a lot of interest and attention. This means you have to be prepared for tons of questions when you appear on your new ski!
The latest technology is always interesting and offers an opportunity to discover something new. If you like to be a pioneer and aren’t afraid of the unforeseen drawbacks and problems, you may find it exciting to own an electric jet ski (and answering the questions).
Conclusion: If you like attention and talking about your jet ski for a long time, an electric model is a good choice.
The Cons of Electric Jet Skis
It’s clear that the electric jet skis are really exciting and have many advantages. Now we can move on to the dark side.
Let’s see what the cons are if you don’t want to use gas anymore!
Electric Jet Ski’s Performance
In the world of motorsports, many buyers are performance-minded, which had lead to the famous horsepower competition among PWC manufacturers. It’s harder to sell a jet ski if it isn’t labeled with a 250-300-300+ horsepower tag!
When it comes to the electric jet ski’s performance, it’s clear that they arrive with much less horsepower, thus lower top speeds as well.
It’s safe to say that at this time they can offer more or less the same performance as a non-supercharged, gas-powered jet ski. We’re sure that we’ll see many electric jet skis with higher performance in the future, but currently, this round was won by the regular skis.
Conclusion: If you’re happy with the lower performance, you may consider an electrojet, but if you’re a performance-minded rider, the supercharged jet skis are the only way to go!
Running and Recharging Time
Probably the main drawback of the electric jet skis is their limited running time. Manufacturers say that they can run around 1.5-2 hours with “average use and typical conditions”.
And what happens if you don’t want to ride “average” but operate the jet ski as hard as you can? Or the weather turns harsh and you have to face wind and choppy water? In this case, you can expect much less riding time.
At the same time, a regular jet ski can be ridden for an unlimited time – until you have gas nearby of course. Many electric jet fans say that you can dry out a tank on your regular ski in an hour, so you still have to go back to the dock just like with an electric jet ski.
But the main difference will be noticed when you’re back to the dock to refill your craft. If you have a regular ski, you can refuel it easily from your fuel gas cans, but many marinas have fuel docks for your convenience.
How much time does it take to refuel a regular ski? 5-10 minutes?
But what if you have a battery-powered jet ski? It takes many hours to charge it, which definitely won’t work near the dock, not to mention the lakes and rivers where there’s no electricity nearby. It would be a twist to charge an electric jet ski with a gas-powered generator!
So it looks like the only chance for a quick restart would be a spare battery pack, but considering the weight of the electric jet ski’s battery (hundreds of pounds!), they probably won’t be replaceable near the dock.
Conclusion: Batteries offer much less riding time and to charge them could be a hassle. If you want to ride more than 1-2 hours, you’ll definitely need a gas-powered jet ski!
Lack of Choice and Availability
Regular jet skis are available in a wide variety of choices, different sized engines, colors, and features.
On the other hand, if you want to own an electric personal watercraft, it seems there is still not a wide range of them to choose from. Many of these models are still just concepts with no additional info about when they’ll be available on the market. Although there are some models that will be available in the 2020 model year, their production volume is very limited.
Conclusion: If you want to choose a jet ski that meets your expectations (and budget) it’s wise to start your research among the regular models.
Initial Problems / Durability
When it comes to durability and reliability, it’s safe to say that this technology is pretty new, so there are no long-term experiences, which means it’s hard to know a lot about it!
So be careful, as beyond the euphoria, purchasing the latest technology always has its own risks. Many unforeseen problems may occur, especially in the first years! Water and electricity don’t work well together, so we don’t know how these jet skis will operate, especially after some years of usage!
Conclusion: If you’re afraid of the hassle and risks, you can’t go wrong with a regular jet ski.
Electric Jet Ski Prices and Maintenance Costs
Last but not least, let’s check and compare prices and maintenance costs! How much is an electric jet ski?
If you look at the narrow market of the battery-powered jet skis, you can see that the models are available from $24k to $40k, which is a pretty shocking price range!
At the same time, regular skis are available from $5.5k to $20k, which means an “average” gas-powered jet ski can be purchased around $10k-$12k. At this point, the electric jet ski fans can say that these models don’t need maintenance and there is no gas bill, either.
Let’s be honest; if somebody can afford a toy which costs so much, the cost of the gas is probably not very important.
But let’s do a little math, and calculate the gas and maintenance costs for the first 5 years for a 180 HP watercraft.
Average fuel consumption: 5 gallons/hour
Yearly usage: 30 hours
Yearly gas consumption: 5 x 30 = 150 gallons
Gas price: $3/gallon
Total costs of gas: 3 x 150= $450
Yearly services and winterization: Let’s say you can get this for another $350
(Note that it can be less or even more depending on the model and the dealership’s location). Fuel consumption numbers are estimated as well; these can wary wide depending on several factors.)
So finally, you pay around $800 for gas and maintenance, which means 5 x $800 = $4,000 in the first five years.
So if you’ve purchased your ski for $10k, you’ve already spent $14k in the first five years (excluding other costs), still far above the electric jet ski price range. Also charging the electric jet ski means money of course, and the costs of a new battery could be shocking as well.
And don’t forget the several additional owning costs like storage, docking fees, accessories, registration, insurance, taxes, cleaning, and towing the ski to the water and many more. All of these means extra costs – independent of the power source of your jet ski.
Conclusion: So at the end of the day, in spite of the gas and maintenance bills, it seems regular jet skis will be more pocket-friendly.
Technology trends are unstoppable and jet skis with electric engines make sense for many reasons. They’re really cool, have a lower environmental impact and promise much less maintenance.
However, the current models have really limited availability, and they offer low riding time. Let’s face it; this power source will not be used for jet ski fishing or long tours in the close future!
When it comes to electric jet ski price tags, it’s clear that these models are much more expensive, so even if they need minimal maintenance, at the end of the day, they could cost more than the regular gas-powered models.
And we haven’t mentioned the electric jet ski’s price depreciation as we also don’t know anything about it at this point, but who would be interested in a many-years old jet ski with a dying battery?
As you can see there are many cons and pros when it comes to battery-powered jet skis. Currently it seems that this technology is better for the smaller-sized jet skis, but maybe in the future we’ll see bigger and more powerful electric jet skis on the water.
We’re waiting impatiently!
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