In another sign that electric pontoons are going to be a popular boating option in the USA over the next few years, Polaris Marine has unveiled two concept demonstrator pontoons with high power electric propulsion.
Polaris previewed these high-horsepower electric propulsion demonstrators at its annual dealer meetings in Syracuse, Ind., for the Godfrey and Bennington brands.
The concept vessels were built on the Bennington L-Series 2024 Bowrider (26′ 6′) platform and the Godfrey Monaco 235 platform (23′ 11″). Last year Godfrey introduced its Mighty G with Torqeedo Cruise motors, but this is different.
The Mighty G can be ordered with the Cruise 3.0, Cruise 6.0 or Cruise 10.0. (approximately 6, 9.9 and 20 HP). These new pontoons are powered by the 110 kW (150 HP) outboard electric motor from Forza X1.
Electric pontoons with 110kW (150HP) outboards
The new Bennington and Godfrey demonstrators reached a top speed of 25 mph and 28 mph, respectively. With this power, the cruising range of the Bennington was gauged comfortably to be 25 miles at 15 mph (40 km at 25 km/h) or 15 miles at 20 mph (25 km at 32 km/h) , while the Godfrey had an estimated range of 20 miles at 15 mph (32 km at 24 km/h or 17 miles at 20 mph (27 km at 32 km/h).
The concept vessels were selected for demonstration due to the ability to place the batteries in a central location. The models are both popular platforms for their respective brands, giving the engineering teams opportunity to explore and validate the capability of electric propulsion, while allowing dealers a behind-the-scenes look at some of the testing and learning that is taking place within Polaris Marine.
The systems were controlled by a custom interface, Garmin touch screen display, and equipped with 4G connectivity for monitoring the system remotely via an app.
“As a leader in the pontoon market, Polaris Marine is staying at the forefront of new and emerging technologies, like electrification,” said Ben Duke, president of Polaris Marine. “Working closely with high-horsepower electric propulsion OEMs, Bennington and Godfrey are using concept vessels, such as the ones we shared with dealers, as testbeds for future development. As electrification technology rapidly advances, we will continue to test, learn and best understand how we use it to deliver incredible performance and create the best experiences for our customers.”
There are lots of beneifts of electric propulsion for pontoon boaters. The main ones are that there is no engine noise to shout over or fumes to inhale when out for a pleasant cruise with family and friends. Electric motors are easier to maintain as there are fewer moving parts and they require no oil changes or scheduled engine maintenance.
Pontoons suited for electric propulsion
While pontoons are mainly used for gliding along slowly, owners occasionally want to get quickly to another part of the lake, and the electric propulsion also adds the benefits of instantaneous torque.
There are also increasing numbers of restricted waterways, making the adoption of effective, high-power, high-performance and long-range electric propulsion the next evolution in luxury pontoons.
“Building off the introduction of last year’s Mighty G, where customers who ended up selecting an electric vs. gas-powered 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,” continued Duke. “Our dealer network will be a critical partner in defining this future and we’re pleased that they have been so receptive to these higher horse-powered demonstrators.”