Approaching the Four Winns H2e at the docks in Lake of the Ozarks, the electric boat looks no different than its gasoline counterpart.
“From the outside, other than the fact that it says electric, you wouldn’t necessarily know that it’s an electric boat,” said Nick Harvey, brand director for Four Winns and Wellcraft.
That’s the goal to make the transition from gas to electric seamless for consumers. The spacious runabout is nearly identical to the gasoline version of the H2 except for the power plant. Vision Marine is supplying the power with two high-density 700-volt battery packs that are mated to a 180E electric outboard.
The 230-horsepower electric power plant delivers a top speed of 40 mph, but equally impressive is the H2e’s impressive acceleration.
“Even though it’s new in this actual setting, there’s really nothing new about battery technology and electric motors that are used in a lot of equipment,” Harvey said. “We have a lot of aircraft now that are using battery and electric motor technology for various applications. This is really just adapting a technology that already exists and has existed for a long time into recreational boating.
“It’s definitely new for recreational boating, but this technology in itself is not new.”
Swapping the fuel tank for battery packs required Four Winns to design a dedicated hull liner for the H2e to welcome the batteries and access to the converters for service. Harvey said the batteries should have at least a 10-year lifecycle.
The service is minimal with Vision Marine recommending the lower unit oil be changed once a year.
“There’s really nothing to service on these boats,” Harvey said. “The boat will still need its regular maintenance from a fabric, hull waxing standpoint. When you think about it, you don’t need to do much to a fuel tank anyway, same for a battery.”
The H2e (22’ LOA, 8’5” beam) can seat up to 10 people. Seating accommodations include a U-shape bench seat and individual seats for the driver and copilot. The copilot’s backrest is adjustable to allow a passenger to watch behind the boat or join the conversation in the cockpit. The bow has full seating and filler cushions to create a spacious sun pad. The helm features dual monitors and switches to control functions such as lights. The H2e comes standard with an upgraded sound system.
Four Winns will continue to offer gas-powered versions of the H2, while the H2e is the only electric bowrider in the lineup. Going electric has a price, namely the H2e has a starting MSRP of $189,600, $100,000 more than the H2 gas version.
“If you look at this Four Winns and you compare it to anything else that’s available for recreation on the water and that’s electric, we’re probably the most affordable of them,” Harvey said.
Vision Marine CEO Alexandre Mongeon believes as more consumers rent electric-powered boats or cars, they’ll be more willing to make the switch.
“If I had the option tonight of boating with my family on a gas pontoon rental or a rental electric at the rental operation, I will choose the electric one,” Mongeon said. “If you’re flying to Miami for a week of vacation and they offer you a Tesla or a Chevy Malibu, I know which one I would take.”