Evinrude unveils affordable joystick option
Craig Ritchie attended the US launch of a new joystick control from Evinrude.
Electronic joystick controls make it easy for even inexperienced boaters to precisely manoeuvre their boat when docking, and in even the toughest conditions. With the release of its all-new iDock joystick propulsion system, Evinrude has gone one further and made joystick control easily affordable as well.
With a retail price of just US$5,999, Evinrude’s iDock system comes in at about one-third the cost of competing technologies. Available for boats with twin E-TEC G2 150hp to 300hp engines, iDock incorporates advanced aircraft gyroscope sensor technology to automatically compensate for wind and current. The two-stage joystick is pressure-sensitive, increasing power the farther the joystick is pushed and allowing boaters to instantly double the thrust if needed.
“Evinrude iDock connects with the existing internal hydraulic steering system in the E-TEC G2 engines, which is a big reason we can offer it at such an attractive price,” says Evinrude global product manager, Jason Eckman. “It leverages existing architecture, so everything needed to control the engines is already on them. All we needed to do was create the joystick and develop the interface with the engines. We don’t have to put hydraulic pumps in the boat, or deal with all sorts of extra rigging.”
The system is compatible with new Evinrude G2 150 HO, 200, 200 HO, 250 and 300 models. Unfortunately, it won’t retrofit to existing G2 engines. Even so, Evinrude believes that the system will appeal to anglers wishing to repower older boats.
“A joystick system adds huge value to any repowered boat,” says Eckman. “This is where the other systems on the market are tougher to fit into an older boat, because they require so much space that often wasn’t designed in from the start.
“With the iDock system, you don’t need any additional space, and you can likely use your existing helm and hydraulic lines. Bringing a joystick system to an older boat really boosts its value, but a lot of people don’t want to spend $20,000 to do it. So the current prices are keeping people from putting joysticks in when they repower.
“With iDock, repowering with G2s and adding a US$5,999 joystick is a no-brainer. It puts enormous value into a boat, bringing three times the value of what it cost.”
The iDock and compatible engines are expected to appear in dealer showrooms shortly.