I must admit, I’ve never been that big on attending live music events – I could count them all on one hand, even if I lost a few fingers to braided line related injuries.
On the other hand, I’ve been a fan of Apple products over the years. We have used them for over 20 years desktop publishing Fishing Monthly magazines. Watching an Apple product launch online seemed way too over the top for the marine industry.
So I was amazed when I attended the recent global launch of new Evinrude product in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where much anticipated smaller horsepower classes of Evinrude’s second generation (or G2) were set loose at their annual dealer conference.
They’re V6, 2.7 litre iterations in 150, 175 and 200hp, but more on that later.
The launch was a fusion of both of these spectacles.
As media representatives, we joined over a thousand dealers in a river of humanity descending on the Milwaukee Theatre. At the entrance, a marching band crashed out favourites to applauding delegates while inside the foyer another drum-heavy ensemble shook the foundations of the local landmark.
Swept inside by the human tide, hundreds of Evinrude staff greeted the dealers with cheering, joy and a sea of rainbow coloured glowsticks. While a country covers band belted out the best of Garth Brooks and modern dancers set the scene for the impending release.
I would have only been half surprised if Donald Trump jumped from behind the screen, loitering with intent centre-stage.
If I’d ever defended Americans from being over the top, this outboard launch made me change sides. It was way over the top, and I loved every second of it!
Cutting to the chase, Evinrude’s hierarchy pushed the button on the reveal and a dealer network of over 30 countries was exposed to a much sought-after product. Generation 2 E-Tec, 2.7 litre, V6, 2-stroke outboards in the 150hp, 150 H.O. HP, 175hp and 200hp classes.
And they loved it.
Evinrude has taken a bold stand in two-stroke technology, whereas a tide of fellow manufacturers are pushing punters down the four-stroke path.
For the consumer, this is great. As both technologies vie for market share, engine builders push each other to make their product lighter, stronger, smoother and more fuel efficient than ever before.
Just think about it. Right now in the marketplace, you can buy a 150hp class motor in two and four-stroke, supercharged or naturally aspirated, carburetted or electronically fuel injected, with analogue or ridiculously smart gauges. You can get them in different shaft lengths, rotation directions and colours. And, of course, at a variety of price points.
There’s never been more choice or more ways to tick the boxes with features your next motor needs.
But, if you want cutting edge two-stroke, then Evinrude’s G2s must surely be at the top of your list.
Let’s have a look at why.
At the core of the G2 philosophy is the fact that every time a piston cycles in the cylinder, injected petrol combusts and acts as a ‘power stroke’. This doesn’t happen with four-stroke outboards.
Evinrude freely admit that the incumbent 2.6L first generation E-Tecs don’t do this as efficiently as possible. Hence a full re-design of the cylinder shape to maximise the burn of fuel happened while these 2.7L G2s were developed.
Burning fuel as efficiently as possible is at the core of nearly all of the benefits that G2 has over G1 (and over some of the technologies on the other side of the fence).
There’s no doubting that these E-Tecs have low end grunt. Although we didn’t have the opportunity to derive our own figures in the half-day we spent on Okauchee Lake I did get the opportunity to drive a variety of craft – some that I’m familiar with and others I wasn’t.
Evinrude weren’t shy to let you comparatively test performance, either, with several doppelganger hulls docked with same horsepower engines, same propellers and staff that encouraged you to compare for yourself.
Not surprisingly, none of the comparison boats saw the G2s beaten out of the hole. In fact, if they did, I’m sure heads would roll. Across the board, the performance on a variety of hulls was impressive. Fuel use was low and performance was high.
Where I did feel right at home, though, was at the helm of an 18ft Ranger bass boat powered by the 150hp G2. Definitely not at the ‘light’ end of the range of bass boats, the G2 not only presented a low, sleek profile on the transom, but the Evinrude threw the hull up and out of the water within seconds of stomping the foot throttle.
And control was so light and easy that I could do it one handed… which leads me to the next point.
Nearly every 2.7L G2 Evinrude comes with integral power steering.
Although not the first to incorporate fly-by-wire steering into the outboard, these G2s are first to do it with a 150hp. Of course, there are after market power steering kits available, but these are bulky, noisy and expensive. Especially if you want them on motors this size.
It’s hard to explain the difference in on-water experience that power steering makes – especially if you’re under 40 and haven’t driven a car without it. Or if you haven’t driven a boat with it.
To me, the steering is lighter than in a car through nearly all positions and speeds. And I could only hear it while the boat was at idle.
With the helm and throttle only sending digital signals to the motor, the mechanism is obviously housed in the engine.
But you need more than power steering to drive a boat efficiently one-handed. That’s where iTrim comes in.
You could never honestly use the analogy ‘it’s like driving an automatic car instead of a manual’ if you had power steering and not iTrim.
iTrim is Evinrude’s version of automatic trimming. Like the steering, it’s fully digital and built in to the engine.
Turn it on and it self activates when the engine is trimmed all the way down. Then you don’t touch the trim button at all.
Not at all.
If you do, it reverts to manual mode – just like the cruise control on your car when you tap the brake.
Like all know-all boaters, I reckon that I’m the best boat trimmer on the planet – especially when it’s on my own craft – but let me tell you that I found it very easy to let go of control of this motor function.
Seriously. After about 5 minutes I wasn’t reaching for the trim button at all. I was doing things like I was supposed to be doing, like avoiding collisions with other crazy international media and holding a camera while driving a bass boat one handed.
You can’t do that safely on any of the bass boats that I’ve ever owned. Fact!
And yes, I do understand that other media may have been saying ‘watch out for that crazy Australian’. I did it for my country. We have a reputation to protect.
I think that the industry will very quickly drive this technology down through their ranges. Competitive manufacturers already have add-on systems that are backward-compatible, but require an extra switch panel on the console.
These Evinrudes have it all built in.
Now, while the under 40s may not have driven many cars without power steering, I bet all of them have an Apple (iOS) or Android device in their pocket.
Evinrude’s new E-Link dongle (which plugs straight into the backbone of the engine instrumentation network) allows you to mirror all of the data shown on an Evinrude dash mounted ICON LCD displays on your device. And you can do it from anywhere in the boat.
Engine telemetry, including RPM, trim levels, fuel use, voltage and water depth can be displayed on the main page. Another page summarises the data into useful Trip Log metrics, showing distance travelled, total fuel used and average speeds.
Pocket economists will love the Eco page, showing instantaneous and average fuel use as well as data to help you get the best possible efficiency out of your engine. You can even use it to send data from the engine to a dealer.
That might not be impressive to the Facebook generation, but it sure beats hitting the engine with a hammer, which was Outboard Repair 101 for me with my first carbied 6hp!
Of course, the app is free – you just need to buy the transmitter. It’s not a standard inclusion.
You’ll probably re-read this bit, because I did a double take when we saw the graphs in the presentation. Evinrude claims these are the cleanest petrol outboards in their class on the planet. And yes, they are a two-stroke.
It makes sense when you listen to the next claim. One fill of XD100 oil will last you 50 hours with normal boating use.
I bet you just read that bit again, too. I asked the question.
At Australian XD100 prices, that’s a relief to all G2 owners – current and future.
As an indicator first-up, I didn’t see a puff of smoke all day on the test engines. Or smell the traditional two-stroke odour.
That might be a negative to seasoned two-stroke lovers, but the fact remains that these engines are remarkably clean.
It all comes back to the inherent efficiency in combustion. Burn the fuel properly and there’s no waste or by-products of an incomplete burn leaking through the exhaust system.
And that makes for a pleasant boating experience all round. We found these G2 E-Tecs to be quiet, efficient, good looking and a pleasure to drive.
You’d be mistaken for thinking that they behave like a four-stroke at low revs – there’s no discernable smoke and they’re comparatively quiet – leading to a pleasant boating experience.
It was only recently (earlier in 2016) that Gold Coast based Telwater took over the Australian distribution of Evinrude outboards from BRP. The news of the Evinrude E-Tec G2 product moving down to lower horsepower classes was music to the ears of this iconic Australian boat builder.
“We’re selling a lot of big block G2 Evinrudes at the moment and the response to this new product is going to be mind boggling,” said Sam Phelan, another Aussie at the event Stateside and part of the Telwater management team.
“In Australia these motors will come with a 3+2 year warranty. Three years if you choose a no-maintenance pathway or an extra 2 years if you drop in to your local Evinrude dealer for annual maintenance checks.”
Telwater’s Jason Draeger – National Sales Manager for Evinrude – agrees.
“The existing G2s are well accepted by customers and dealers, but let’s face it, that 150 to 200hp range is where it’s at for us. That’s a 5-6m boat and Telwater dominates that market share, so there’s no reason that we won’t see an increase in market share for Evinrude in the near future,” he said.
Jason forecasts that these G2, 2.7L engines will be available by December in Australia. In the meantime, visit www.evinrude.com for specifications, performance data, videos and model range.
Also, you can scan the QR codes hereby on your smartphone to watch the content that Fishing Monthly created at the Milwaukee event.
|Engine Type||66° V6 E-Tec Direct Injection|
|Controls||Integrated digital shift and throttle|
|Fuel induction||E-Tec direct injection with stratified low RPM combustion mode.|
|Alternator||133A total/50 net dedicated/14A at idle.|
|Steering||Remote (hydraulic for TRAC model)|
|Trim||Power Trim and Tilt|
|Shaft Lengths||20” and 35”|
Scan the QR code for the in depth interview with Jason Eckman, Global Product Manager for Evinrude outboards.
Scan to watch the on-the-minute launch video, which was embargoed until the global reveal.
Scan to watch our crazy Publisher hooning around an American lake, driving with one hand and filming with the other.Reads: 737