In the latest news of major outboard manufacturers entering the electric world, Tohatsu has announced a strategic collaboration with renowned high-performance motor builder Ilmor Marine.
The first electric outboard available will be a 6kW unit (≈ 8.2 hp) to be launched in the US, Canadian and European markets in 2024.
The companies said “This strategic collaboration marks a historic partnership between two industry leaders, combining the rich heritage of Tohatsu’s expertise in marine outboard propulsion and Ilmor’s cutting-edge engineering prowess.”
The 100+ year old Tohatsu Corporation was founded in 1922 and introduced their first (fossil fuel) outboard engine in 1956. In addition to gasoline burning models, it also manufacturers propane powered outboards.
Long histories in motor innovation
Tohatsu units are in wide use around the world in commercial fishing, marine transport, recreation and competition. In 2018 its total production of outboard engines exceeded 4 million units. Tohatsu America has been a recipient of the National Marine Manufacturers Associations’ Customer Satisfaction Index Award (NMMA CSI) for six consecutive years.
Ilmor is a relative upstart, founded a mere (!) 40 years ago in 1984. The company established a legendary reputation in auto racing, winning more IndyCar races than any other engine builder. The company has facilities in the USA and UK that employ more than 150 engineering, assembly, and support personnel.
Since entering the marine industry in 2001, Ilmor has become a leader in high performance marine propulsion, with its engines providing the power behind leading brands like MasterCraft, Formula and Aviara.
The companies have said that their collaboration “centres around the creation of a premier line of electric products…the first in line is a 6kW outboard. This electric outboard offers integrated tilt and trim, a gauge-style touch screen for centralized system operations, and multiple variants in both shafts and props.”
As Plugboats reported almost exactly a year ago, Ilmor debuted a 6kW electric motor at METSTRADE 2022 that made its US debut at the 2023 Miami International Boat Show (MIBS). The ION featured a unique lighting system that provides both safety and entertainment.
The motor announced today seems to have some similarities, but as you can see from the image below, is branded with the Tohatsu name and does not have the extensive LED lighting features of the Ilmor ION. More will be revealed at this year’s MIBS next Wednesday, February 14.
In their announcement the companies said “Leveraging Tohatsu’s heritage in marine propulsion and Ilmor’s track record in engineering excellence, the partners are committed to delivering products that combine efficiency, power, and environmental sustainability.”
Tohatsu Ilmor electric outboard available in 2024
“The partnership with Ilmor Engineering represents a significant milestone in Tohatsu’s journey,” said Tohatsu Corporation President Isami Hyuga. “Together, we are embarking on a transformative venture to introduce an electric outboard that not only meets the expectations of our loyal customers but also sets new benchmarks for the industry.”
Mike Lindberg, VP of Marine at Ilmor, said his team shares Tohatsu’s enthusiasm. “Joining forces with Tohatsu is an exciting opportunity for Ilmor to collaborate with a like-minded company that shares our values of performance, innovation, and environmental responsibility. Together, we jointly aim to create products that not only meet but exceed the expectations of boaters around the world.”
The new 6kW Tohatsu electric outboard will be available in US, Canadian and European markets in 2024. Pricing has not yet been announced.