BRP has wrapped up a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Evinrude Motors with the introduction of it latest 2009 outboard models, the Evinrude E-TEC 115 H.O. and the Evinrude E-TEC 130. Earlier this year, Evinrude announced it will also soon produce a new 25/30-hp E-TEC model, taking that direct-injection two-stroke technology down to a new, twin-cylinder powerhead.
100 Years for Evinrude
I am very familiar with the story behind the founding of Evinrude, having been on the PR staff at Outboard Marine Corporation during the 75th anniversary of the brand. In fact, I wrote a number of the media releases associated with that anniversary, and took my turn re-telling and adding my own embellishments to this legend. The story goes that Ole Evinrude, a Milwaukee machinist, had rowed his date to an island in a local lake for a summer picnic. The gal commented that some ice cream would sure make a fine treat on such a hot day, and the gallant Ole jumped into the boat and rowed back to shore for the dessert. By the time he returned to the island, however, the ice cream had melted, which allegedly prompted Evinrude to start thinking about how to power a small boat with a gasoline motor. The ice cream might have been soup, but Bess Carey later married Ole anyway, and he produced his first prototype outboard in 1907. Spurred on by Bess, who is credited with creating the famous ad copy, "Don't Row! Use the Evinrude Detachable Row Boat Motor," Ole went into production with the motor in 1909. His was not the first outboard motor, but he did create the template for the motor we still use today, with a vertical crankshaft mated to a horizontal prop shaft through a set of bevel gears in the water. Did this business with the ice cream really happen? Who knows. But as my old history professor Watson Parker was fond of saying, "If it didn't happen, it should have." So now it's fact.
New E-TEC Portables
Both the V-4 115 H.O./130 and the 25/30 fill holes in the Evinrude E-TEC line (www.evinrude.com), but the 25/30 is probably most significant because the 2008 line came to a big dead end at 40 hp. In my neck of the woods, this leaves dealers with no kickers to rig on walleye boats next to a bigger Evinrude main engine, and no models in the 'portable' category for small fishing boats. The E-TEC 25/30 uses a new 578cc twin-cylinder powerhead, and will be offered with rope or electric start, remote or tiller steering, and manual or power trim, in 15- and 20-inch lengths. The motors weigh as little as 146 pounds (a 15-inch rope start) and as much as 183 pounds (a 20-incher with electric start and power trim). Four-stroke competitors have similar displacement, but are all triples, and range in weight from 148 pounds for a Honda to 216 pounds for a Suzuki. You can still buy a carbureted two-stroke 25 from Yamaha (though the EPA is about to put a stop to that), which weighs as little as 105 pounds. I have not had a chance to test one of the new E-TEC portables, and a dealer I spoke with says they are still not available from BRP, so we'll have to wait to see how they run. Retail prices range from $3,570 for a rope-start tiller 25 to $5,350 for a 30 with all the bells and whistles.
What about an E-TEC kicker? The latest buzz I've been able to pick up is that the design and testing of the powerhead has been finished, and work is progressing on the midsection and gearcase. So maybe sometime next year a baby E-TEC will be born.
Filling a Hole in the Mid-Range
The new V-4 E-TEC 130 fills a hole between the standard 115 V-4 and the 150 V-6. Both the E-TEC 130 and the 115 H.O. use the same 60-degree 1.7-liter powerhead as the E-TEC 115. BRP says that all three models benefit from a new exhaust port design that increases peak power with no loss on the bottom end. Like the 3.4-liter V-6 models introduced late last year, the V-4 motors have a new exhaust housing that uses fewer parts. And like the 250 H.O., the E-TEC 115 H.O. does not have a power rating (the '115 H.O.' is simply its model name - wink, wink). My dealer told me this will let him sell this 'tuned up' 115 on boats with a 115-hp rating, offering the customer who cares a little more performance. Pricing for the standard E-TEC 115 starts at $10,875, while the 115 H.O. starts at $11,620, the same as the E-TEC 130. Again, dealers can not yet order these motors, but I expect they should be in production soon.
I-Command On Line
BRP has also launched a new on-line tool designed for owners of Evinrude-powered boats with its I-Command digital instruments. Like many of these new digital instruments, the I-Command gauges offer so many options that setting them up can be a daunting task. Push a few buttons and you may never find your way back to the original display screen. You could read the owner's manual, but this new I-Command simulator lets you see the display change as it walks you through the options. And if you get lost, you can get back to the beginning with a simply mouse click. You can also download the user guide from this site.
For more information, visit Evinrude.