Polaris Marine unveiled its latest offerings at a dealer's meeting in Indiana this month. The company showcased two pontoon boat demonstrators, developed in collaboration with companies under the Polaris powersports Group, featuring robust high-horsepower electric propulsion systems.
For the uninitiated, a pontoon boat relies on buoyant floats, commonly known as tubes, for stability. This construction design permits versatile deck configurations. Notably, Polaris has harnessed modern float designs to accommodate substantial horsepower at the rear end of the boats.
Polaris Marine's breakthrough includes the incorporation of a 150-hp outboard electric motor sourced from Forza X1 into the two demonstrators. These concepts are based on the renowned pontoon models, namely the Bennington L-Series Bowrider and the Godfrey Monaco 235 platforms. The choice of these models is rooted in the feasibility of placing batteries centrally within the boats' structure.
Although specific details about the battery technology remain undisclosed, the company did share performance metrics. With the electric propulsion system, the Bennington and Godfrey demonstrators attained top speeds of 25 mph and 28 mph, respectively. Polaris gauged the cruising range of the Bennington to be around 25 miles at 15 mph, or 15 miles at 20 mph. Meanwhile, the Godfrey model achieved a range of 29 miles at 15 mph or 17 miles at 20 mph.
The advent of electric boats brings advantages such as instantaneous torque and enhanced maneuverability in restricted waterways, thereby positioning electric propulsion as “the next evolution in luxury pontoons,” according to Polaris.
Ben Duke, the President of Polaris Marine, emphasized the collaborative efforts with high-horsepower electric propulsion Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). He stated that Bennington and Godfrey are employing these concept vessels as testing grounds for future innovations. Duke affirmed the company's commitment to continual testing and learning to optimize performance and enhance customer experiences.
Beyond product display, Polaris Marine seized the opportunity to offer dealers an insider's perspective on ongoing testing and learning initiatives. The electric pontoons made their debut at the annual dealer meetings held in Syracuse, Indiana. CEO Duke underscored the importance of the dealer network as a pivotal partner in propelling electrification initiatives forward.
This foray into the zero-emission marine market isn't Polaris Marine's first venture. The company previously introduced the Mighty G boat, which garnered remarkable success in the market. Notably, the adoption of electric motor options exceeded expectations, underscoring the promising potential of electric propulsion technology.
While the company hasn't disclosed whether the demonstrators will enter regular sales, this unveiling aligns with Polaris powersports' overarching strategy for electrification. The “rEV'd up” strategy, introduced in 2020, aims to offer an electric alternative within each of the core product segments by 2025.