“I hated them,” he said. “And I didn’t know why until later.”
Gisborne, a self-proclaimed environmentalist, started building electric vehicles in 1993 and has a long history of converting what was once powered only by gasoline to electric propulsion. So, when he started thinking about boating, he immediately thought of electric.
“The first boat I owned was a solar electric boat I built in 2005,” he said.
A few days after he finished building it, he piled his family on board and went for a six-day journey down the Trent-Severn Waterway.
The waterway was a good first boating trip, Gisborne said.
“I’m not a fan of big water,” he said. “I didn’t want to be a cork floating in the ocean.”
Instead, he traveled 170 kilometers along the waterway with the shore always visible.
Of course, that made sense for a maiden voyage, but the solar boat was never at risk of running out of juice.
“We’d finish each day with half a charge left,” Gisborne said.
And he started to wonder what all the fuss was about. Why weren’t companies already manufacturing solar and electric propulsion boats? It just made so much sense.
“It became my niche and my mission in life to share these boats with the world,” he said.
And he founded the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company.
“We have orders and we’re filling them,” Gisborne said.
The company just opened a new manufacturing facility in Rome, New York, where it’s producing its new Loon model. It’s a 22-foot pontoon style boat with 760 watts of solar panels atop the roof.
Efficiency was important to Gisborne and he designed the boats not only so they are attractive and water worthy, but so they can be shipped for use anywhere in the world.
“Most boats don’t fit in shipping containers,” he said.
The Loon fits in a standard freight box and can be stacked so four boats can be shipped somewhere together. Gisborne said the factory has an order and will be shipping 10 boats to Egypt from its new plant.
“Instead of cutting the traditional ribbon when we had our grand opening, we cut the ceremonial fuel line,” he said.