Elco Motor Yachts has been making electric boats for 130 years


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Elco electric boats
Elco, electric boat at the 1893 Chicago World Fair

Electric boating is experiencing a lot of excitement. As in automotive, hybrid and full-electric solutions are catching on in vessels of all types and sizes. Yet, there are those who have been making them for a full 130 years and are celebrating right now at the Chicago Boat Show 2023. It doesn’t seem real, but Elco Motor Yachts has been in the business of electric boat motors since way back in 1893.

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Elco Motor Yachts, electric boating since 1893

Elco debuted at the Chicago World Fair in 1893 under the name Electric Launch Company (from which it derives its present name) and presented its vessels, which over the years were also purchased by such distinguished customers as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and John Jacob Astor.

Today the company continues to produce electric inboard and outboard engines.

Elco – One of the electric recreational models

Electric boats for 130 years

By the early 1900s, Elco was acquired by Exide Battery at the same time as Holland Submarine. Acquisition that led the group, named Electric Boat Company, to develop advanced battery-powered engine systems, thus developing Submarines for the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Navy. Some of the products that emerged in the following years, including the two World Wars, include the 550 Elco Motor Torpedo Boat (a torpedo boat of the Great War) and the 326 Patrol Torpedo Boats of World War II. These included PT109, captained by John F. Kennedy (photo below).

Patrol Torpedo Boat PT-109 – Pictured is John. F. Kennedy (right) with the rest of the crew. 1943

With the outbreak of the Cold War, Elco was assimilated by the General Dynamics Corporation, undermining Elco’s development of pleasure boats, now 100% focused on designing military submarines and aircraft systems. Everything changed in 1987, however, when Elco was acquired by a new company, allowing it to refocus on recreational boating. In 2009, production of outboards began, further diversifying the brand’s now expert capabilities.

Elco – Pictured here, electric propulsions for fishing boats.

Today, backed by unique industry experience, Elco offers a more than comprehensive range of electric propulsion for recreational and non-recreational use, including outboard motors capable of more than 200 horsepower. A history that, over more than 130 years, has been able to bring us sustainable, quiet solutions capable of performance unimaginable at the time of its first opening.

For information and contacts on the brend, here is the link to Elco’s Italian dealer: www.proboats.org


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