• The Genesis of the Evinrude E-TEC Outboard


    The User Experience

    Achieving performance and emissions goals might seem good enough, however the very important common denominator to both of those attributes is what Evinrude refers to as the user experience.

    Within this view, high performance and ease of maintenance and ownership are not mutually exclusive. The highest-horsepower E-TEC would be just as easy to operate and maintain as the smaller models. This approach covers many aspects of consumer ownership and use of the engine, even when it may come to service. Evinrude’s unique and stringent goals set for the E-TEC series resulted in some very interesting specifications. For example, it might surprise you to know that first-generation E-TEC engines from 40-200-horsepower all share the very same bore and stroke specification.

    Why is this important? Because it means that all of these engines use the very same pistons and connecting rods, which goes a long way toward streamlining design, production, and service needs. Additionally, all E-TEC engines have the very same maintenance procedures. This uniformity across an entire series of engines not only makes ownership much more practical but servicing as well. And the maintenance intervals - or the lack thereof - are sparse. The first-generation E-TEC engines required no maintenance for the first three years or 300 hours. That, in addition to the lack of a mandatory break-in regiment, that in itself was a breakthrough in the industry. The G2 series, which will be discussed in the second part of this feature, further increased the maintenance intervals to five years or 500 hours, whichever comes first, in freshwater recreational use. Many owners will not log 500 hours on their outboard in the lifetime they own it.

    Miami, 2006: With the E-TEC's introduction, Evinrude came out swinging. This is the on-water Evinrude demonstration area at the Miami International Boat Show.
    Ultimately, all of the advancements made will matter little without important feedback from the consumers that will use these engines. The depth of this research is impressive. Not simply limited to phone and mail-in questionnaires, Evinrude actually interviewed consumers, from recreational boaters to fisherman to even law enforcement to obtain valuable feedback to be incorporated into E-TEC’s design. This level of consumer interaction in the design of a product particularly interested me, and I was surprised to see just how far Evinrude went to meet the needs of different boaters. Sandstrom detailed this comprehensive approach to customer-centric design:

    “The consumer and marketplace research BRP did, especially for the G2 engines, was significant. While the traditional research methods of phone surveys and focus groups were used, they also did some rather in-depth one-on-one research with real consumers on their own personal boats. Consumers were videotaped using their boats. They were interviewed and asked for their feedback on a wide variety of topics relevant to their ownership and operator experiences. These consumers included recreational boaters as well as fishing guides, commercial fishermen and law enforcement agencies. BRP also researched consumer reaction to various new concepts, beyond what was currently available in the market. In addition to these types of on-the-water, real world research, they also conducted an advanced form of Voice of Customer consumer research called Conjoint Analysis, which helped them better understand the value consumers place on particular features, characteristics and benefits of their outboard engines. Finally, BRP also did research with dealers and boat builders. Employing many of the same research concepts, tailored specifically to their unique perspectives and needs.”

    The last 20 years has been a very transformative era in the outboard marine industry. The technology-driven evolution of the clean-running, easy-to-own outboard engine taking place now is not unlike the evolution that has taken place in the automotive industry. Development of new technologies has produced the rewards of the highest-performing and most environmentally conscious cars in history. We are witnessing that very same technologically-driven progression in outboard engines such as the Evinrude E-TEC, with all of the benefits that the two-stroke engine design provides and none of its historical bad habits.

    Video: The well-known "Tug of War" demonstration was first introduced at the 2006 Miami boat show. It's definitely a very entertaining way to showcase the torque of an E-TEC. I remember the moment we all saw the Yamaha-powered boat pulled underwater, people at the show were actually cheering. It's just a fun video to watch, but also a powerful demonstration, in more ways than one.

    This particular video is lesser-known, but just as entertaining. It demonstrates the same test, but against a Mercury four-stroke powered boat.
    What I find most intriguing about the E-TEC is that it does everything well, with no compromises in performance and ease of maintenance. It has the kind of instant torque that only a two-stroke outboard can, but the greatest impression on me was that even when pushing very heavy fishing rigs, I never had the feeling that the E-TEC engines were overloaded and struggling. Throttle response is always very fast, and there is always more power available in reserve, and that's very confidence inspiring.

    During the course of my research for this article, I have learned a great deal about the intricacies of how the Evinrude E-TEC took shape, from the comprehensive customer feedback that drove its design goals, to the evolution of the technologies that created the most advanced two-stroke consumer outboard available today.

    Part Two of this series will focus on the new Evinrude G2-series of E-TEC engines with many photos and details of my experience at the Evinrude E-TEC G2 press event. This feature article became more of a journey for me than anything else previously undertaken with Scream And Fly, and there's so much more to tell.

    It's a very good time to be an outboard engine enthusiast.



    Comments 17 Comments
    1. baja200merk's Avatar
      baja200merk -
      Nice job good read
    1. CRH1's Avatar
      CRH1 -


      Looking forward to part 2
    1. Instigator's Avatar
      Instigator -
      Nicely done Greg.

      The G-2 is the mack daddy and cant wait ti read about it.
      It is the "starboard starboard motor" and is amazing that anyone would make the investment to make that motor.

      Thank you.

      Gary
    1. DanUmbarger's Avatar
      DanUmbarger -
      Great read Greg, can't wait for part2...Thanks
    1. mjw930's Avatar
      mjw930 -
      Greg,

      Would it be safe to say the only thing that holds the G2 or the E-TEC in general back is the lack of a lower unit suitable for surfacing applications, costs aside?
    1. David Borg's Avatar
      David Borg -
      Thank you Greg. Great read
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by mjw930 View Post
      Greg,

      Would it be safe to say the only thing that holds the G2 or the E-TEC in general back is the lack of a lower unit suitable for surfacing applications, costs aside?
      I think that could be accurate, however, as I researched the G2 I learned that the current Lightning II lower unit is tested at over 90 MPH, and can run surfaced. Not like a Sportmaster of course, however unofficially, it has run over 100 MPH without modification. Never know what the future brings, though!
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by David Borg View Post
      Thank you Greg. Great read
      Thank you David, I really appreciate you taking the time to read it

      Greg
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by Instigator View Post
      Nicely done Greg.

      The G-2 is the mack daddy and cant wait ti read about it.
      It is the "starboard starboard motor" and is amazing that anyone would make the investment to make that motor.

      Thank you.

      Gary
      Thank you so much Gary. I knew you would be interested in this article. The G2 is really a different outboard in most respects, which is one reason I decided to make the G2 an entirely separate part to this. Originally, the G2 was going to be incorporated into this article, but it really deserves its own feature article. I had great fun with the G2s at the press event. The steering system and network link (along other things) is really revolutionary.

      Greg
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by DanUmbarger View Post
      Great read Greg, can't wait for part2...Thanks
      Thank you so much Dan! Part 2 is really where most of the content will be.

      Greg
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by baja200merk View Post
      Nice job good read

      Quote Originally Posted by CRH1 View Post


      Looking forward to part 2
      Thank you so much guys!

      Greg
    1. Knut74's Avatar
      Knut74 -
      Read this and really enjoyed it. Very well written Greg, can’t wait to read second part! Good job!
    1. SALSTRIP's Avatar
      SALSTRIP -
      Absolutely the best article I have seen on these engines , can't wait for the G2 info in Part 2.Thanks for posting it up its Awesome
    1. Laker's Avatar
      Laker -
      Fantastic Virus!!
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by Laker View Post
      Fantastic Virus!!
      Thank you so much buddy, I appreciate it very much! I knew you would be reading this for sure.
    1. powerabout's Avatar
      powerabout -
      great stuff
      first time I have read anywhere the difference between a ficht injector/emm and an etec version.
    1. Knut74's Avatar
      Knut74 -
      When is Part 2 due? Can’t wait to read it.....