Looking to take advantage of the growing water sports market, Volvo Penta introduced its new Forward Drive technology Wednesday in Miami.
"This is a transformative technology that will be as innovative as IPS was 10 years ago," said Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas, referring to Volvo Penta's Inboard Performance System, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Showed off today to a gathering of boating industry press, dealers and manufacturers, Forward Drive will make its public debut at the Miami International Boat Show Thursday.
The engine will begin shipping in March. Huibers said that four boat builders are already incorporating the technology into some of their boats -- Bryant Boats, Cobalt, Four Winns and Regal -- and others are considering it. Chaparral President Jim Lane confirmed to Boating Industry that the company will also be releasing a Forward Drive model.
(See related article on the Four Winns TS222 and a brief video of the technology on the TS222 below.)
Noting the growth of water sports, especially wake surfing, Huibers said Forward Drive will help grow boating.
"It will help families unite like never before and get more people to enjoy the boating lifestyle," he said.
The Volvo Penta FWD begins with forward-facing dual counter-rotating props with an adjustable-trim drive. This patented and innovative design pulls the boat through the water rather than pushing, with an undisturbed water flow to the propellers.
Drivers will also be able to customize the wake for different ability levels and feel the difference in tighter high-speed turns, as well as more responsive slow-speed maneuvering and docking.
FWD also reduces noise and vibration, and virtually eliminates annoying fumes on deck because engine exhaust is expelled underwater beneath the boat. The adjustable tilt allows users to trim the boat for optimum fuel efficiency and comfort when cruising. When at rest with the drive trimmed down, the forward-facing propellers are inboard of the boat making activities like fishing and swimming more practical astern of the boat.