What’s New In Outboards 2024?

by Chris McCotter

Outboard manufacturers are now looking ahead to the year 2050, which some have announced as their goal to be carbon neutral. Yamaha in particular has said this is a goal and they are not only working on electric outboards but hydrogen power motors as well. 

    There are some electric outboards available, but nothing yet for the likes of today’s high performance bass boats. Mercury is in the marketplace as are a host of smaller companies. Like most technological innovations in the marine industry the exciting stuff happens at the top and takes a while to trickle down to the mass market. There might be a scattering of electric powered vessels in anchorages these days, but no doubt as technology progresses and prices decline, we will see more and more boats sporting electric outboards, big and small.

   For 2024 don’t expect any ground-breaking introductions. The OEMs are sticking with their proven four stroke V6 and V8 designs for now and that means most boats you’ll see at the show will be power by Mercury or Yamaha outboards with smattering of Hondas and Suzukis.

  Here’s what’s going on with the top outboard manufacturers for 2024.


  While they are still somewhat of a rarity on bass boats around the area, Honda outboards are an option and they are present on pontoon boats and some coastal boats. The BF 200, BF 225 and BF250 are Honda’s V6, four-stroke outboards suitable for bass boats. They are built on a 60-degree, 24 valve V6 that displaces 3.5L and weighs 609 pounds. This outboards has a 90 amp (1119 amp) alternator with 60 watts of charging power. The cowling features air intake vents and is available in white and silver options. A unique cooling system passes through each aluminum exhaust manifold, the cylinder heads, and once again through the exhaust manifolds. This results in increased cooling efficiency and long-term durability. Honda’s exclusive Intelligent Shift and Throttle (iST) command and control system delivers superb control plus plug-and-play installation of Honda Marine products and third-party controls and devices. Boosted Low Speed Torque, or BLAST, uses Honda’s patented spark advance system to propel the boat to plane in just seconds. When you move the throttle quickly, BLAST is activated: the throttle body opens up, the air-fuel ratio goes to a richer setting, the ignition timing advances aggressively and this allows the engine to make more torque, or power.


  The Pro XS line of Mercury outboards continue to be a popular option for the region’s anglers. A large dealer network and being the exclusive outboard for certain boat manufacturers tends to help Mercury be the top choice on most boats you see on area waters.

  The Mercury Pro XS 250 is what is found on the back of all new 21’ Nitro’s and Tritons. This V8 outboard displaces 4.6L and weighs just 511 pounds. It runs fine on 87 octane fuel with 10% ethanol maximum. The power plant’s alternator cranks out an impressive 85 amps or (1,071 watts) wide open and 20 amps at idle to charge your battery. A DTS Hot Foot throttle is standard with all 200-300 Pro XS outboards. These motors are SmartCraft capable and that means you can hook up any number of add-on accessories like Active Trim, VesselView Link and VesselView Mobile to increase performance and monitor the engine. Mercury claims the Pro XS 250 has better 0-20 mph acceleration on a heavily loaded 21’ bass boat than a competitor’s 250 hp (probably Yamaha), 12-15% more torque and a higher top speed rigged on a 21’ bass boat with a light load.

   Mercury is putting a

lot of research and de-

velopment into its Avator electric outboard as regu

lations around the globe are incentivizing non- fossil fuel motors. 

The Avator 7.5e 

debuted last year, offering 

3.5 hp for small boats. New for 

2024 is the Mercury Avator 20e and 35e. The 20e is said to be able to accelerate a 12’ Lund WC-12 boat at a similar rate as a 5 hp four stroke outboard, while the 35e model’s acceleration is similar to a 9.9 four stroke.

  The Avators have displays on the front of the outboards that show battery life and settings. You can also connect wirelessly to your phone using the SmartCraft Connect and Mercury Marine app. You can charge the lithium ion batteries individually using the charging port on each battery or charge up to four connected batteries at once using the Mercury Power Center charge port. The 230W charger takes 10 hours to fully charge a depleted 2300Wh battery. The 520W charger cuts that time in half.


   Only limited by its lack of dealers in the region, Suzuki has a good product for area anglers to consider when repowering and when they are able to choose an outboard for a new boat. The revised Suzuki SS 250 engine offers a sleek cowling design featuring new intake louvers, upper cover grips (to assist with removing the cowling) and the new “SS” graphics include the raised black Suzuki lettering that is only featured on this model. It looks like a stealth or black ops engine.

  The SS 250 is a V6 four stroke that displaces 245.6 cu. in. (4.0L) and weighs 578 pounds. It has a 54 amp alternator, Multi-Point Sequential Fuel Injection, Variable Valve Timing and Multi Stage Induction. Suzuki also offers fly-by-wire digital technology SPC 2.0 controls and Auto-Trim, a keyless start system and a digital pedal throttle. There’s a new lower unit for less drag and the skeg has something called “left-right asymmetry” with a curve in it to assist in maneuvering.


  Better known for powering smaller boats and rental fleets, Tohatzu motors does field an option for the region’s anglers needing an engine to push their bass boat. The Tohatzu BFT250D is a 3.6L V6 four stroke outboard with a narrow, 60-degree V6 design that weighs in at 619 pounds and has a 90 amp alternator with 60 charging amps. The BFT250 has another industry-first; separate dual air circuits. The first is used to cool the engine where air is drawn into the front of engine and circulated around critical engine components. A top mounted cooling fan draws cooling air over the alternator. The second intake circuit directs cooling air from the upper intake vents, separates out moisture, and then inducts it into the throttle body. This system provides for cooler, denser air for better combustion as compared to conventional under-cowl induction systems. Tohatzu offers a five-year warranty on this outboard.

  Tohatzu’s lower horsepower offerings will gain new options with a BFT150D, 30 hp MFS30D and 25 hp MFS25D. Ed Allen’s Boats & Baits on Chickahominy Lake is your area Tohatzu outboard dealer.


  Vision Marine Technologies has something called the 180E E-motion outboard that is said to produce 180 hp. It also is said to be able to be charged from any shore outlet. It combines an advanced battery pack, an inverter, and a high efficiency motor with proprietary union assembly between the transmission and the electric motor design utilizing extensive control software. 

   Vision Marine says it “strives to be a guiding force for change and an ongoing driving factor in fighting the problems associated with waterway pollution by disrupting the traditional boating industry with electric power. In turn, this directly contributes to zero pollution, zero emission, and a noiseless environment. Vision Marine believe that our electric outboard powertrain systems are significantly more efficient and powerful than those currently being offered in the market today.”

   In particular, Vision Marine have recorded powertrain efficiencies of more than 94%, well above the 54% efficiency that Vision Marine recorded for their principal competitor’s product.

  In August 2022 a V32 HellKat widebody 32’ catamaran equipped with two fully electric E-Motion™ 180E (180 hp) outboard motors and powertrain systems debuted at the annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, in which the driver reached a stunning 109 mph, shattering and setting the world electric boat speed record (which has now increased to 116 mph using the same outboards

  The twin 180Es were fitted with two high density, lightweight batteries custom designed in partnership with Octillion Power Systems. Additionally, boat racing industry legends Weismann Marine custom engineered the lower units for the V32, which was important in accommodating the high torque generated by the E-Motion™ outboard technology.

  How much for an E-Motion 180E? $26,995 for the outboard and $78,990 for the 881-pound battery pack.


  The Yamaha 250, 225 and 200 V MAX SHO outboards are found on all Skeeter bass boats and the brand is a popular option among coastal anglers.

  The V MAX SHO 250 is a 60-degree V6 with 4.2L of displacement that weighs 567 pounds and offers 70 gross amps with an optional isolator that can charge a house or trolling batteries. The engine design features individual intake and exhaust camshafts, larger valves than previous models and four valves per cylinder for better valve timing, responsive power and increase fuel economy. This outboard requires minimum 89 octane fuel.

  Yamaha’s exclusive In-Bank Exhaust System exits downward through the center of the V block rather than on the exterior. This increases efficiency, power and torque while resulting an a more compact shape.

  Yamaha says the V MAX SHO 250 is faster to 50’ than a competitor’s 250 (think Mercury) by .15 sec., .19 sec faster to 100’ and .28 seconds faster to 200’.

  Yamaha is reputedly set to display a proto-type hydrogen-powered outboard in February 2024 at the Miami International Boat Show.

  “Marine products run through water and are thus subjected to water resistance, requiring significantly more energy for propulsion than land vehicles. Additionally, the performance and engineering requirements for marine products can vary widely depending on the usage environment-such as the ocean, rivers, or lakes-as well as the usage itself, from commercial fishing to recreation. In order to achieve carbon neutrality with marine products while facing such challenges, the Company is promoting a multi-directional development approach, looking to other new energy sources and technologies in addition to its electrification efforts,” noted a Yamaha spokesperson.

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