The Miami International Boat Show is three months away, but I’ve already picked up some new-outboard buzz involving BRP/Evinrude. The rumor is that BRP will be using the Miami show to introduce updated versions of its 3.3-liter and 3.4-liter V6 models, the E-TEC 225 to E-TEC 300 outboards. The key new technical feature will be a drive-by-wire control system, but the motors will also be dramatically restyled.
A drive-by-wire control replaces traditional throttle and shift cables with wires that send a digital signal from the throttle handle unit to motor’s computer, which in turn throttles and shifts the motor through signals it sends to mechanical actuators. Advantages include much easier rigging, very smooth throttle action, less maintenance because there are no cables to adjust or become corroded, and the ability to add more speed-control features. Mercury offers a digital throttle as standard equipment on all of its Verado outboards, Yamaha has digital controls on it 4.2-liter Offshore models, and Suzuki offers it on its 300-hp V6. So it’s time for Evinrude to catch up.
I’ve also heard some buzz in the powersports industry that BRP is working on a second-generation E-TEC direct fuel injection system for its two-stroke Rotax snowmobile engines, which have been a big hit in that market thanks to an outstanding combination of power, light weight and economy. No word on how a new E-TEC might be different or better than the current system, or if it will find its way to Evinrude.
I was also told the restyled cowls are really wild, along the lines of the Seven Marine 557. We’ll know if my source was right when the Miami show opens on February 16, 2012.
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