Brunswick Launches All-Electric Marine Outboard
The Avator 7.5e will be the first in Mercury Marine’s full line of electric outboard motors.
Brunswick Corp. made several product announcements at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. The company showcased their electrification efforts for recreational boats under their Mercury Marine brand with the launch of Avator 7.5e electric outboard.
“We are excited to formally introduce the Avator 7.5e electric outboard to the world,” said Chris Drees, Mercury Marine president. “As the innovation leader in the marine industry, both in internal combustion products and now electric propulsion, we have the resources and knowledge to make boating more accessible to more people, while building on our commitment to sustainability.”
Watts on water
Mercury is billing their Avator line as “the next step forward in marine innovation.” The 7.5e model unveiled at CES will be the first in a series of electric outboards. The company also displayed a pair of higher-output concept outboards, the 20e and 35e. The full Avator line will reportedly hit the open water for public sale later this year.
The 7.5e is rated at 750W of power at the prop shaft, which corelates to roughly the same output and performance as a Mercury 3.5-hp FourStroke outboard. It is available with a tiller or remote steering and is intended for use in small boats such as tenders, inflatables and kayaks. The Avator series also features swappable lithium-ion batteries. The 48V/1kWh pack was developed in partnership with Mastervolt and is IP67 rated for water resistance.
“By developing interchangeable batteries, we were able to give boaters the ability to outfit themselves with enough power to enjoy more fun adventures,” said Jim Hergert, senior category manager for small outboards at Mercury Marine. “With any electric mobility system, range and runtime are impacted by many factors. Boaters who need to stay out longer or go farther can bring along an extra battery. Swapping batteries literally only takes seconds.”
All Avator outboards will feature a transverse-flux motor, which was chosen “because of its high torque density,” according to Andrew Przybyl, engine and vessel calibration technical specialist at Mercury Marine. “The motor can generate instant torque at low rpm,” Przybyl explained. “Because of that, we were able to design a large-diameter three-blade prop that spins slower, which is better for efficiency and overall performance. The result is faster 0-4-mph acceleration and higher efficiency than similar competitive outboards.”
Power status and estimated runtime of the Avator is tracked via a digital display mounted on the unit. A 110W charger is standard. Mercury did not provide an official charging time for the 7.5e but did state that faster speed charging speeds are an option. Mercury states that at 100% constant throttle, the range of the 7.5e is five miles (8 km) or 60 minutes when powering a 13-ft. (13.9-m) , 382-lb(173 kg) boat. At 25% constant throttle, the range increases to 34 miles (55 km) or 19 hours.
The total weight of the 7.5e excluding the battery is 43lb. (19.5 kg). The battery itself weighs 17lb. (7.6kg). With the battery installed, 7.5e weighs approximately 19 lb. (8.6 kg) more than the equivalent output gas outboard.
Brunswick Corporation also announced the launch of Veer at CES, the company’s new entry-level boat brand designed to support electric propulsion. “Our target consumer is looking for a brand that brings new energy and new thinking to the outdoor experience,” said Matt Atilano, Veer director of strategy. “Through Veer, we look forward to delivering on these desires and on Brunswick’s promise to expand access to the water and democratize boating.”
Veer’s first offering will be the X13, a 13-ft. (four meter) hull with a rotomolded polyethylene construction. The X13 was designed to accommodate the Avator electric outboards but can also be fitted with Mercury’s gasoline FourStroke units. The X13 features a shallow draft of just 6.3 in. (16 cm) and weighs in at 382 lb. (173 kg). Pricing for the X13 starts at $11,995 USD and will be available in spring 2023.
A new generation
Mercury’s electrification efforts are not solely limited to their all-electric outboards. The company recently released their first ever V10 Verado outboard, which features an optional 48V/12V dual mode alternator. The unit can provide up to 6 kW of power per engine.
“Think of it as a plug-in hybrid system for boats,” said Drees. “You can plug it in at the dock overnight to 40V service to charge the battery, and when then engine(s) are running, the alternator can recharge the battery system. If you have three or four engines mounted on the back of your boat, they are producing 20-25 kW of electrical power, which means the charging speed is extremely rapid.”
The alternator system is designed to pair with Navico Group’s Fathom e-Power System, an integrated lithium-ion auxiliary power management system that eliminates the need for an onboard generator ICE generator.
“We are laser focused on our ACES strategy to transform the boating experience, and a major component of that is electrification,” said Brett Dibkey, Navico group president. The enhanced Fathom system provides reliable power management and control, allowing users to better understand and manage their power needs.”
The system features components from Mastervolt, BEP, CZone, Ancor, and Blue Sea Systems. It is available in 12V, 24V and 48V customizable kits and can independently manage energy storage and power conversion. The system was reportedly designed to seamlessly integrate into a wide range of boats and recreational vehicle powertrains while also eliminating the noise, vibration and fumes associated with traditional generators.
“Fathom’s customizable kits were designed to simplify electrification for our OEM partners,” added Dibkey. “The preconfigured kits seamlessly integrate into any vessel or vehicle, allowing manufacturers to better serve their customers’ specific needs.”
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