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2023 IBEX Innovation Award Interview with TEMO

TEMO·450 Electro-portable Propulsion Solution

The TEMO·450 is as odd as it is brilliant. At first glance, it’s more likely to be identified as a cordless immersion blender rather than an electric outboard; and the similarities are more than skin deep. On one end you have a handle for speed control, on the other there’s a spinney bit, and between them are a battery and a brushless DC motor. By virtue of that inline design, the 450’s closest internal combustion counterparts are the long-tail mud motors used by anglers to traverse shallow marshes. Be that as it may, TEMO insists that the 450 is designed to be used primarily on yacht tenders. So, what is the TEMO·450? In short, it’s just about the most innovative motor to emerge from the new wave of electric propulsion.

TEMO·450 Electro-portable Propulsion Solution

What problem was the TEMO·450 designed to solve?

TEMO designs, produces, and sells an electric propulsion system for small watercraft to make boating easier and more environmentally friendly. Inspired by the electric oar and scooter, it replaces low-power combustion engines. No unpleasant smell, no risk of leaking anything into the cockpit or the trunk of the car.

The idea for the TEMO·450 came from the founder of TEMO, Alexandre SEUX. “The idea for the electro-portable engine came from my own sailing experience and from extensive discussions with boaters. I want to use this innovation to make it easier and longer for all sailors to enjoy their outings.”

Who is the target market for the TEMO·450?

All boaters who use a dinghy for transfers between the wharf and their boat (anchorage, harbor maneuvers, cruising) or for people who want assistance maneuvering a small sailing boat under 6.5m long. All anglers who use a rowboat or small watercraft to navigate inland waters and who need a light and silent means of propulsion to move around. And all sea anglers as well, who use a dinghy to reach their boat.

Who is currently using the TEMO·450? What feedback have you received?

When the TEMO·450 came to life, it was initially meant to be used on dinghies for transfers or for small crafts to navigate inland waters. We quickly realized the scope was much larger than we originally thought, and we are now seeing the TEMO·450 being used on many kinds of boats, including canoes, kayaks, Hobie Cats, Tiwals, etc.

The feedback has been positive and our customers report being very satisfied. The main advantage for them is portability and practicality; at only 5kg the TEMO·450 is easy to carry around and to store. Boaters only need to carry the engine and that’s it. No need for gasoline or anything else to start your outing.

A couple of testimonials from our customers:

Mathieu – “It’s life-changing!! I use my TEMO.450 with a Neptea 250 dinghy to get out to my mooring in the Gulf of Morbihan. Those 500 meters are easily and silently covered, but for me the best part is the handling. Only 5 kilos! No more hassle and risk of injury. Other advantages I have noted over my regular outboard are no smell of petrol, no oil stains, and no water running into the car, not to mention rinsing and servicing. The product seems to me to be well designed, well finished, and it is made in France. I’m delighted with it”

Alain – “Great product, for people who use their dinghy to get to a beach or other place around the anchored boat. Very easy to use and store.”

What obstacles arose during the R&D process?

We expanded our team with experts in design and prototyping as we did not have engineers in these areas. They have been excellent from start to finish. There were very precise specifications and constraints to work through and they were very professional and found the best solutions to arrive at the final product.

The most stressful part for us was bringing the product to market in France in 2020 during a global health crisis and manufacturing TEMO·450 despite the lockdown. Even with a production plant shut down and access to water being prohibited (preventing us from testing our developments) the team was able to reorganize all the tasks and succeed in delivering the first unit during summer 2020, including redirecting budgets and developing a new communication plan to capture an online audience.

The 2020 success in France, and then rest of Europe, very quickly attracted the interest of dealers in the United States, who made us aware of the market interest there. After carrying out our own market research, we delivered a test product presentation at the Annapolis Boat Show in October 2022. We confirmed that American boaters were also looking for smart, sustainable innovations for their coastal and inland waterway sailing. As a result, the product launched in the US market in early 2023.

What impact do you see the TEMO·450 having on boat propulsion?

By offering a silent, practical, electric alternative with no direct emissions, boaters have every reason to switch to electric power for their small daily transfers to anchorages, maneuvers, and leaving port. At TEMO, we believe that electric power has its place in light leisure boating (short distance, low speed) and democratizing this use through innovative outboards is an active part of decarbonization and cleaner navigation on our coasts and rivers.

On top of being environmentally friendly, our engines are made for the boaters to enjoy their rides: lightweight, easy-to-carry and to install, instant start, low maintenance, no gasoline to carry – just a few of the advantages in favor of electrification of boating.

What plans are in place for the future of TEMO? Are there any other use cases in TEMO’s crosshairs?

The TEMO·1000 is already being sold in France, with delivery planned this spring and it will be expanding to Europe this summer and to the rest of the world in autumn of 2024.

Building on its commercial success, TEMO is now accelerating its development with the expansion of its range of motors (1000W, 3KW, 5KW) for all sailboats. Also, we are currently working on a 3KW pod solution to equip bigger sailing boats, stay tuned.

The IBEX Innovation Awards showcase outstanding marine product development to the recreational boating industry and beyond. The program, managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), is one of the marine industry’s most prestigious honors recognizing manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products to market.

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TEMO designs, manufactures and markets innovative, award-winning, patented electric propulsion solutions that use electric technology to sustainably transform boat use.

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