Lehr used the Miami International Boat Show to debut its latest propane-powered outboard, a 15-hp model, which follows last year’s introduction of a 9.9 horsepower propane outboard. The new model will be available in 15- and 20-inch shaft lengths, with electric starting and remote controls available on either size. This motor uses a new 323cc twin-cylinder four-stroke powerhead that offers 50-percent more displacement than the 212cc 9.9, and weighs 110 pounds (the lightest version), about 22 pounds more than the 9.9.
When equipped with electric start, the Lehr 15 features a compact 12-volt lithium iron battery made by Shorai that weighs less than two pounds and is mounted under the outboard’s cowl, so there’s no remote battery cluttering up the boat. The motor has a charging system and the battery carries a three-year warranty.
Propane fuel is extremely clean-burning, impossible to spill, and probably creates less explosive danger on board than a portable gasoline fuel tank. It also eliminates all of the issues caused by ethanol-blend gasoline. Lehr says its new 15-hp model will run for about 7.3 hours at a 3000-rpm cruising speed on a 20-lb. tank of propane – that’s the size typically used on a gas grill.
The new Lehr 15 will be priced between $3,516 and $3,996, depending on features.
Mercury Offers a White Verado
Also at Miami, Mercury Marine revealed that it will soon offer its Verado 300 in two optional shades of white, each shade intended to match the popular hull colors of offshore fishing boats, or just to appeal to buyers who’d like a motor that looks a little different. High-end boat builders have been custom-painting outboards to match boat hulls and graphics for some time, and now Merc is offering something close right from the factory. The motor will also still be offered in classic Phantom Black.
Mercury also gave its new 200 Pro Four-Stroke outboard its first public debut at Miami. This high-performance outboard uses the same 2.6-liter, in-line six-cylinder powerhead as the 300 Pro and 250 Pro four-Stroke models. Each is based in the 2.6-liter Verado platform, with an intercooled supercharger and programmable fuel and air intake control. Power steering and Digital Throttle and Shift are standard equipment, and this motor is available with a 20-inch shaft and a DTS Hot foot control for bass boat rigging. The 200 Pro weighs 635 pounds, or 125 pounds more than the 1.7-liter Verado 200, which is a four-cylinder powerhead. I am guessing the 200 Pro is tuned to crank out 199.5 horsepower – right to the limit of rated power.
The white Verado 300 and the 200 Pro Four-Stroke will all be available spring 2014.