Medical device entrepreneur Howard Root met boat renovation expert Bart Jones when Howard purchased a cabin cruiser in St. Louis in the mid ‘90s and brought it up the Mississippi River to Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka, where Bart had his business and workshop.
The two men hit it off and Root would love tinkering away with Bart in the shop, and like many boat lovers, he used it to help relieve himself of the stress of his ‘day job’.
His day job was a little different from most, though, and he netted himself about 1 billion dollars when he sold his medical device corporation – Vascular Solutions – in 2017.
Along the way Bart had taken an interest in electric marine propulsion and had developed the Go-Float in 2008, an electrically driven two-person sun lounger to toodle around the lake on a summer’s day.
So with Howard’s new found freedom, they decided to work on the concept of an electric powered pontoon boat to provide a little more luxury for that kind of toodling. To build the first prototype they just took a rusty old pontoon clunker nicknamed the Rat Rod and slapped an electric motor on the back.
It worked well enough that they knew they had something. But they wanted something different. As Root told Twin Cities Business magazine “ I never really liked the look of pontoons. It’s just barrels with a dance floor and a living room stapled to it.”
Jones had also been thinking about how to improve on the traditional pontoon boat design. “I asked myself a simple question: What if a pontoon didn’t look like a pontoon?”
So they came up with the solution of integrating the pontoons into the hull and created the ELUX, which looks nothing like a pontoon boat, but serves exactly the same leisure time purpose.
The ELUX luxury fibreglass pontoon boat was introduced to the public at last week’s Minneapolis Boat Show.
Beyond the electrics, it’s a great experience
There’s no denying it takes the idea of a pontoon boat to a whole new level, with a stunning profile that still has the ability to hold 12 people, pampered by rear facing bench seat on the swim platform, twin reclining bow loungers, full size cooler, integrated recycling bins and plenty of storage for water toys, extra clothing and whatever else is needed for a pleasant cruise. Oh, and because the motor is so quiet, guests can easily appreciate the Infinity stereo by Harmon Kardan with eight speakers, subwoofer and Bluetooth. There’s even a handheld portable electric vacuum.
On the performance side, the ELUX uses a 72-volt, 420-amp lithium battery-powered electric engine which can last for over ten hours at cruising speed. Top speed is 14 miles per hour. The battery pack is about 1/3 the size of a Tesla pack and charges in about 12 hours from zero.
You can find out more about this innovative pontoon boat on the »» Elux Marine website.