Webasto Thermo & Comfort North America and Volvo Penta of the Americas have unveiled a new fully integrated engine-driven air conditioner and optional heating system designed specifically for open-cockpit sterndrive boats.
Developed as a collaborative effort, Webasto Breeze will be marketed to builders as an OEM-installed option and through dealers as an add-on.
The modular system is designed for easy turnkey installation into new boats. Volvo Penta supplies an upsized alternator and mounting bracket, and Webasto provides the belt-driven compressor, evaporator, condenser, seawater pump and dash-mounted controls. The entire system is 12VDC, eliminating the need for an auxiliary generator.
Specifically designed for the marine industry, Webasto Breeze provides ambient cooling and heating for many scenarios.
It allows enthusiasts to extend their time on the water, providing a blast of cold air during the stifling summer heat and warming their passengers after a dip in the water when the temperatures start to decline later in the season.
Webasto Breeze puts out 7,000 BTU of ambient comfort at idle or slow speeds and up to 30,000 BTU at higher engine rpms. It is controlled by a simple dash-mounted unit with three fan speeds and a mode switch.
The first U.S. boatbuilder to offer Webasto Breeze is Four Winns, which is introducing it as an option on the HD270 model.
"We were totally blown away by this new product," said Andy Lindsay, Four Winns vice president of sales. "Our dealers love it. We were so impressed that we presented our first-ever Suppliers Innovation Award jointly to Webasto and Volvo Penta at our dealer meeting this month."
"We value the creativity of our customers and appreciate the trust they place in us for providing solutions to problems they face," said David Wollard, Webasto Thermo & Comfort North America senior director of leisure markets. "Webasto Breeze is a perfect example of how user-driven requests can ignite innovation, especially when collaborating with other forward-thinking companies like Volvo Penta."
"Volvo Penta has a long and storied history of innovations in the boating industry, and this collaborative development program with Webasto has produced yet another industry first," said Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas. "Our innovations are driven by our Easy Boating strategy, which aims to make it easier for more families to enjoy the boating experience. With Webasto Breeze, boat builders can offer their customers the convenience of automotive air conditioning for the first time in an open cockpit boat."