It’s going to be a while before bass boats are powered by electric outboards, but this milestone is one step closer with the introduction of Yamaha’s Harmo. You can read more about that in the Yamaha section of this article.
Bass outboard trends we are seeing include the continued “bi-partisan” effect where you are either a Mercury or Yamaha aficionado. Yes, there are Honda, Suzuki and Tohatasu V6 outboards that will power a bass boat, but most of the big boat manufacturers are now aligned with either black or blue.
Here’s what you can expect on the boats you’ll see at the shows and in the show rooms this coming season.
Honda’s BF200, 225 and 250 outboards are built on a 60-degree V6 block featuring a single overhead cam design with 24 valves. The redesigned Honda BF200, 225, and 250 outboards feature the sleek styling of their Progressive V Form design. This new, aerodynamic exterior increases engine cover durability, improves safeguards that help prevent water from entering the engine, and helps protect against paint chipping and scraping. The new cowling incorporates a dual channel, indirect-air-circuit induction system that improves airflow, enhancing performance while helping funnel moisture away from the throttle body. The BF200, 225, and 250 offer a choice of white and silver models to complement your boat. The BF 250 weighs in at 60 pounds.
The BF200, 225, and 250 offer AMP+. At idle, when the engine senses a need for additional amperage, AMP+ automatically increases the rpm’s by 100 to produce an additional 9 amps. AMP+ helps prevent the draining of critical battery power when using multiple accessories, a concern when you’re fishing miles away from the ramp. The charging system features a 90 amp “On Demand” belt-driven alternator with 60 charging amps.
Honda Marine has redesigned and upgraded two of its most popular outboards, the BF115 and BF150, and released an all-new model, the BF140, for 2022.
The all-new BF140 will replace the existing BF135 and is supposed to set a new benchmark in the ‘core power range’ of the outboard market. The BF140 will have a broader, flatter torque curve compared to others in the segment with smoother power delivery throughout its operating range. A redesigned cowling will give the engines a fresh look, and under the cowling will be repositioned anodes, a repositioned tilt and trim unit, high and low pressure fuel filters, water seperator, spark plug access, an enlarged dipstick, and enhanced diagnostic codes that will make troubleshooting significantly easier. Each engine will come with a full, five-year non-declining factory warranty.
Both models are available with either mechanical or drive-by-wire operation and can fully interface with Honda’s new HondaLink Marine smartphone app. They will also be the first to feature Honda’s new “dynamic motion” design, which involves a new aesthetic and cowling shape to accommodate the drive-by-wire electronic remote control system.
All three of the new engines will be available in either mechanical or Honda’s Intelligent Shift & Throttle (iST®) drive-by-wire system. All three will also have a newly designed push button and key start configuration and an expanded number of rigging options. There is also an optional tilt-limit switch on all three models. Each is built around a 16-valve dual overhead camshaft configuration for increased high RPM power transfer. All three engines generate 55 total amps with 40 amps of charging power available for a range of electrical accessories.
Another notable new feature is an ‘Immobilizer’ ignition system requiring a remote transponder key to start the engine. The immobilizer deters potential theft by preventing the engine from starting without the remote ignition key. If an attempt is made to start the engine without the remote key, the immobilizer automatically disables the engine. www.hondamarina.com
So, yes, the rumors are true, Mercury now has a 600 hp V12 Verado outboard. Can you imagine that on the back of a bass boat? If 600 hp is just too much for you (1,260 pounds), back down to the 500 hp Verado V12 option.
But seriously, while these outboards are intended for offshore boats we’re sure you’ll see one this year on a bass boat somewhere.
The popular Mercury Pro XS line-up now consists of four outboards of 175, 200, 225 and 300 hp. All but the 3.4L V6 175 are built on 64-degree, 4.6L V8 block with dual overhead cam and 32 valves. The V8s weigh just 505 pounds and the V6 weighs 470 pounds. Each has an 85-amp alternator that provides 20 amps at idle. Charge battery-management technology automatically increases idle rpm to boost alternator output and recharge low batteries. According to third party tests, no other outboard offers faster acceleration. The Mercury TorqueMaster gearcase is still a standard-setter in high performance outboards. www.mercuryoutboards.com
Suzuki bases their bass boat motors on a 55-degree V6 block and offers 350, 300, 250, and 225 options. The DF250SS remains their option for your bass boat. This motor is available in Shadow Black Metallic and for the “Special Ops Guys”, a sharp Matte Black finish and features a double overhead cam design with 24 valves weighing 578 pounds. The alternator is 54 amps. www.suzukimarine.com
Still known for producing good value small boat outboards, Tohatsu does offer V6s for bigger rigs. The BFT series includes a 250D, a 225D, a 200D and a 150. The first three are built on a 3.6L 60-degree V6 with a 90-amp alternator. Like the Honda BF outboards the 250 hpTohatsus are built on a 24-valve, single overhead cam design and weigh in at 619 pounds. In fact, the 60, 75, 90, 115, 150, 200, 225 and 250 hp Tohatsu models are built by Honda and just rebranded. Interestingly, all of Mercury’s outboards under 30 are manufactured by Tohatsu. www.tohatsu.com
Many area anglers use portable Tohatsus on their smaller boats because they are lightweight, durable and cost less than comparable manufacturer’s models.
From the outset the new, electric Harmo was designed as more than a standalone electric motor, and the entire package of what Yamaha refers to as its “next-generation boat-maneuvering system platform” provides the full capabilities and benefits.
This electric motor is a rim motor, named because the propeller blades are attached to an outer rim rather than a central hub. In the Yamaha design the rim is the motor itself, with the stator (stationary part) on the outside and the rotor (rotating part) inside it. The electric current runs through the the coils of the stator and the inner rotor has permanent magnets.
Yamaha has utilized some of the bow thruster philosophy with the Harmo’s ability to swivel 140 degrees. Controlling it with the intuitive feel of the Helm Master EX joystick, a pilot can a boat rotate it within its length and with two motors can make a boat move completely laterally.
The 55-kilogram/102 lb Harmo is powered by a 48 V battery and the rim configuration and technology of the 3.7 kiloWatt motor provides static thrust of 225 pounds (102kg) – about the same as a 9.9 horsepower outboard. It’s another big step for eboating but not something for bass boats, yet.
So while electric outboards are a long way from mainstream, when both Yamaha – who claim about 1/3 of worldwide sales – and market leader Brunswick/Mercury announce that they will have five electric outboard models in the US by 2023 … you know bassdom is getting close to major changes in the way boats are propelled.
Yamaha’s 2022 250 hp SHO VMax outboard definitely looks new with a major cowling resign featuring a flaked blue and grey steel scheme with a touch of red and gold. This motor is built on a 60-degree, 4.2-liter V6 block that has plasma-fused cylinders (said to be lighter and stronger than steel) and weighs in at 529 pounds. Individual intake and exhaust camshafts as well as larger valves than used in previous designs and four valves per cylinder delivers a more precise valve timing and a more efficient exchange of intake and exhaust gases, for responsive power and increased fuel economy.
Other notable new aspects of their most popular bass boat motor is that V MAX SHO now produces up to 70 gross amps of charging power. This 40 percent increase in charging is more than enough juice for anglers’ growing array of on-board tech. The outboards can also be equipped with an optional isolator lead to better charge house or trolling batteries.
A new, Yamaha exclusive, TotalTilt™ performs a quick, full trim up or down with the fast, double-tap of a button.
Yamaha now also has a 5.6 L 425 hp V8 that could possibly be hung on the back of a 21’ bass boat but is more intended for offshore boats. www.yamahamarine.com