Maximizing Electric Motor Distance

I am very pleased with Minn-Kota 30# motor on my 15’ canoe.

I would like to get the maximum distance on one battery.

My gut (?) tells me that I’m likely to get better mileage (miles/battery) if I do not run at full speed. Has anyone done experiments/measurements to show the most efficient speed?

I now get about 6-10 miles on one battery. How does that compare with others?

Any other (non-weather) factors that will augment my battery efficiency?


Run slower, run longer, maybe not
farther, but longer. Amp hours of the battery make a big difference, more amps, more miles. Also, the gel type batteries seem to do better, but it may be subjective. Carry a paddle and go forth.

I built a rudder
For my trolling motor. I used a piece of aluminum about 1 1/2’ + 1 1/2’. I used a piece of cardboard to cut and fit a templet to the motor first. Then I transfered it to the aluminum. I used a heavy duty zip tie to attach it to the motor and a couple u clamps for the shaft and one small bolt and nut for the hole I drilled in the existing rudder on the motor. How does this help battery life you ask? Its kind of funny. A 36 lbd thrust trolling motor seemed to change to a 50 or 60 lbd thrust trolling motor. No more correcting for wind or current. More power goes for propulsion instead of correction.

Try not to
push it faster than the hull speed or you may be wasting juice.

Step controlled motors waste a lot of power. Minnkota makes a motor with maximizer circuitry. It is continuously variable and electronically controlled. I believe they also make/made a separate controller that could be added to any electric motor. I used to low speed troll a 17’ Aluminum power boat all day on a 27 series battery using a maximizer.


– Last Updated: May-13-07 5:49 PM EST –

I've heard of these things, and would actually be surprised if other companies don't have them too. These days, they are not complex to make, in fact, my brother offered to build one for me (he's an electrical engineer and has been building electronics stuff since he was a kid).

The way it works, is that instead of reducing the voltage to go slow (which wastes power by generating heat in resistors), full voltage is sent to the motor under all speed conditions, but the current is "chopped" into discrete increments to reduce the overall power delivery. The shorter the increments of power delivery relative to non-powered time increments, the slower the motor runs. In theory, and "in a perfect world", a motor controlled this way will do the same amount of work with a given battery no matter what the power setting. In the real world, the amount of energy needed to move your boat a given distance increases with speed, so barring any unforseen factors (which there may be in a "non-perfect world"), a motor with this type of speed control would push your boat farther at slower speeds.

If your motor uses resistors to control output, best use of battery power will occur at high speed, but when that is weighed against the increased power demands of making your boat go fast, it's anybody's guess what speed is most efficient.

In any case, it sounds to me like an experiment is called for!