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What did you decide to do with this in the end?

For your application, a pair of industrial cast iron AC induction motors running off VSDs would be fine. They're designed for 100% duty cycle and are hard to break. There are some online calculators to work out power vs water speed based on your hull LWL.

You'll need a higher voltage battery pack for a standard AC induction motor (at least 1.4 times the AC motor voltage). The other option is to rewind the motor for low voltage. Motor rewinders will do this if you provide them the spec you want.

If you go with standard industrial motors, you can use standard VSDs but connect the battery pack to the DC bus inside the VSD. You could even get away with one VSD and a reversing contactor to run both motors with V/Hz mode (can't do vector/FOC drive in parallel).

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