Electric propulsion on the water is the next big thing in water sports, and it has been for some time. Today, electric motors for small motorboats are a realistic alternative to the combustion engine. However, the major manufacturers have waited a long time, as the technology is expensive and battery capacities are low so far. For years, pioneers like Torqeedo have been ahead of the established high-volume motor manufacturers.
But the empire is now striking back, you might say. Mercury Marine electrified the industry at the beginning of 2022 with the announcement that it was developing the first electric outboard of its own.
Not much information has been leaked about the Avator since then. So it was time for a float talk with Chris Drees, President of Mercury Marine – shortly before our visit to Mercury Marine in the USA.
“You will be thrilled”
Mercury has been keeping us on tenterhooks since February regarding information on the Avator electric outboard. We are very curious to know what is special about the new outboard and when we will be able to test it. And of course, what you will show at boot Düsseldorf 2023 and before …
Chris Drees © Kerstin Zillmer
: I can assure you: You will be really excited about what you will see. We will launch the entire series early next year. So we are already planning the launch. And that’s just the first group of products.
We have announced that we will launch seven electrified products by mid-2024. A lot of people are working on this. What makes us particularly proud is that we’re not just launching a me-too product. We will innovate to help our customers solve their problems.
In which segments do you want to score?
Mercury is known for its user-friendliness: for intuitive design, low vibration and low noise. This is also true for the Avator. It will be very easy to install and charge the batteries. All the things that make Mercury stand out from the rest, we will include in the product line.
What about hydrogen?
As an energy carrier, hydrogen is currently being researched by us. Of course, we know that there are already products on the market today, and our team is testing them as we speak. However, there are some problems with hydrogen.
Future technology hydrogen
It’s not as efficient, and you have to use green hydrogen that’s produced in an environmentally friendly way to really do something for the environment.
All of those things, including distribution and how you refuel hydrogen, still need to be solved in the industry. So I think that while this is a trend in the market, it might take a little while for it to catch on in the marine sector.
Will there be more Mercury innovations at boot Düsseldorf 2023?
We are continuing our pace of innovation. As you know, we have launched a tremendous number of new products recently, including the V12 motor, and the 25 and 30 hp engines. So I think we will see a few more product launches from Mercury between now and boot Düsseldorf.
How do you see the European market compared to the USA?
I think both are pretty similar. When I talk to boat builders and dealers on both sides of the Atlantic, they are all extremely optimistic for next year.
Many of them are sold out until next year. And dealers are still very, very positive because people want to get out on the water a lot more than they have in the past. So we are optimistic for next year.