I've also been struggling with the question of which way to go. It seems to me (1) that the evolve is married to the AI whereas the torquedo is not -- the evolve is not transferable to other boats. Most of us have other boats or dream of having them. I have several other kayaks. (2) the evolve won't kick up on grounding in shallow water whereas the torquedo might, (3) for those of us sailing our AIs, the evolve eliminates the possibility of using the mirage drive whereas the torquedo doesn't.
Still if the equation weren't so much against the evolve, I would prefer to buy it because I would like to have the possibility of dropping the motor into the well. Plus, I would like to support Hobie. It seems to me the solution for Hobie in the short term is to supply a third mounting option -- the ball socket thing that torquedo provides. If Hobie provided that too, the purchase from Hobie would be the obvious, unconflicted choice. If Hobie doesn't provide it by late spring (US), I expect I'll buy the torquedo as it is a safer, more versatile investment that, unsightly or not (and surely no more unsightly than outboards on other sailboats), makes more sense in the context of AI sailing. Of course the expense of this system is in no sense trivial, which makes this problem more likely to be resolved in favor of the more flexible and easily resold torquedo.
I have Two Hobie's (plus others i could use the Ultralight 402 on), half the time I spend in shallow estuaries, although the eVolve has a protector fin i would still hate to bang that pricey item against a rock with 150 Kilos of boat and occupant behind it, it sure bends SS masts easily, so tilt-up sounds sensible.
I dont worry about tidy appearance since one look at my boat's occupant would dispell that notion instantly.
Now hesitatingly my suspicious side wonders if the original Torqeedo Ultralight 402 Prop which presumably was designed to have the most efficient size & shape for its motor is now less than it was having been modified, (cut down?), on the eVolve to fit through the drive well?
Lastly, I see some A's & AI's with the Torqeedo Ultralight 402 model mounted just behind the rear AKA and some mounted near the rudder mount but to the side so the Rudder tilt-up is not affected.
If any one knows the Pro's and Con's of Torqeedo Ultralight positions i would be glad to hear them.
PS: On one of the Torqeedo Ultralight 402 websites they mention the Torqeedo Ultralight 405, "...for longer journeys and more power!", but I have not seen any more info on this model.