Polaris presents two pontoons with a powerful electric punch
Polaris Marine presented two pontoon boats at a dealer’s meeting in Indiana this month. The demonstrators from companies in the Polaris powersports Group come with high horsepower electric propulsion.
For those not in boating, a pontoon boat relies on floats, also called tubes, to remain buoyant. The setup allows for flat decks that can be fitted in many ways. Importantly, in the Polaris context, modern float designs enable boat builders to put lots of horsepower on the stern.
Polaris Marine has indeed packed a 150-hp outboard electric motor from Forza X1 on two demonstrators. The concepts are based on two popular pontoon models, the Bennington L-Series Bowrider and the Godfrey Monaco 235 platforms. Polaris Marine added the boats were selected due to the option to place the batteries in a central location.
While the company does not detail the battery technology, it released information on the performance. Equipped with electric propulsion, the Bennington and Godfrey demonstrators reached a top speed of 25 mph and 28 mph, respectively. Polaris gauged the cruising range of the Bennington at 25 miles at 15 mph or 15 miles at 20 mph, while the Godfrey clocked in at 15 mph for an estimated range of 29 miles or 20 mph for 17 miles.
Typical benefits of electric boats include instantaneous torque and the ability to travel in sometimes restricted waterways, which makes electric propulsion “the next evolution in luxury pontoons,” so Polaris.
“Working closely with high-horsepower electric propulsion OEMs, Bennington and Godfrey are using concept vessels as testbeds for future development,” said Ben Duke, president of Polaris Marine. He added they would “continue to test, learn and best understand how we use it to deliver incredible performance and create the best experiences for our customers”.
Polaris Marine also used the popular boats to allow dealers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the testing and learning that is taking place. The company presented the electric pontoons at its annual dealer meetings in Syracuse, Indiana. CEO Duke considers the dealer network a “critical partner” in advancing electrification.
It is also not the first foray into the emerging zero-emission marine market. Polaris introduced the Mighty G boat last year with unprecedented success. According to Duke, customers who selected the electric motor option were “more than double our expectations; we recognize the future potential of this technology and pontoons offerings that have been optimized for electric propulsion.”
Polaris Marine has not disclosed whether the demonstrators will go on regular sale.
Polaris power sports released the general ‘rEV’d up’ strategy for powersports electrification in 2020 and aims to offer an electric option within each of its core product segments by 2025.