--- Article Information --- Article's URL: http://www.jetski.com/article.cfm?id=461. ---------------------------
The workhorse of the recreational boating industry appeared to be heading the way of the steam engine, but not so fast.
Evinrude recently introduced a two-stroke engine using what it calls E-TEC technology. The Montreal-based company that owns the Evinrude name, Bombardier Recreational Products, says the motors are well below the California Air Resources Board 2008 three-star levels of compliance.
Evinrude and CARB officials met three weeks ago. If CARB certifies the engine, it will be allowed on waters currently unavailable for other two-stroke engines.
"We do not ban technology," CARB's Jeanette Paauwe said. "We just want cleaner engines."
Paauwe says this is the first two-stroke engine that the government agency might certify as within 2008 levels of compliance. The certification is not yet complete.
The motor, revolutionary in the sense that no other company appears to be planning to make a two-stroke engine that meets California's strict standards, first became available last October. Area boaters can have an up-close look at it this weekend at the 18th annual Southern California Marine Association Spring Boat Show at Fairplex Park.
There will be more than 200,000 square feet of space for $30 million worth of trailer-sized watercraft at the show, which runs today through Sunday. Some of the boats on exhibit will be runabouts, fishing, ski, wakeboard, cruisers, pontoons and personal watercraft. There also will be accessories and educational exhibits.
"The two-stroke is the perfect outboard engine," Bombardier's David Thompson said. "It's lighter when weight matters and it takes two strokes instead of four to go a cycle. It idles better and is easier to maneuver."
The new V6 engine weighs 519 pounds, more than 100 pounds lighter than a four-stroke engine with the same power.
Because of the air and water pollution rules, manufacturers have stopped selling two-stroke engines in California and switched to the four-stroke motor, which Bombardier also makes.
"We saw that there was real potential," Thompson said of the two-strokes. "We weren't going to say, 'OK, they win.' We wanted something better. So we went to the consumer and asked what they wanted in an outboard engine."
The difference between an old two-stroke and Evinrude's E-TEC two-stroke primarily is in how gasoline enters the piston cylinder. The older two-strokes inject with a spring, which can result in raw gas spewing out of the engine.
The E-TEC, which has power ranging between 40 and 250 horsepower, controls the gas intake with a voice coil electromagnetic injector. That reduces time for the spray to get to the cylinder by 50 percent, which means gas is more efficiently burned and emissions decrease.
Bombardier boasts that the engines also are quieter, get better fuel mileage and do not need maintenance for three years or 300 hours of use. Bombardier will not release its production figures.
"Even four-stroke motors need maintenance after 10 hours," Thompson said. "Then they need their oil changed every six months."
Thompson says Bombardier studies have found that most four-stroke motors produce 11,000 parts-per-million of carbon monoxide. The E-TEC produces 600 parts-per-million. The recommended national maximum intake of carbon monoxide is 1,200 parts-per-million.
"That's going to be the next big national story," Thompson said. "People getting killed by carbon monoxide. We're 100 times cleaner than the four-stroke."- end -