Toby Hodges picks the cream of the new products for the new year from the Marine Equipment Trade Show in Amsterdam.
Lehr Propane Outboards
They are notoriously messy and smelly yet petrol-powered outboards remain commonplace. A further downside for yachtsmen is the need to store a third fuel type on board. If the acclaimed eco-credentials of this propane-fueled outboard engine range stand up, it could be one of the most interesting recent products to hit the marine world.
Lehr outboards are the brainchild of Captain Bernardo J. Herzer. “90% of small outboard problems are fuel-related,” Herzer told me at METS. He argues propane is a non-toxic gas with no evaporative emissions and no effect to the ozone. It won’t leak into the water and won’t dilute the engine’s oil. For those concerned about flammability, propane ignites at nearly double the temperature to petrol (470°C compared to 280°C).
Lehr’s outboard engines therefore come across as smart solutions that run on standard domestic propane. The 2.5hp and 5hp models accept a small camping gas (1lb) propane cylinder directly into the cowling (see picture). Plus they have a front-end fitting to connect a hose to a larger cannister. These spark-ignition outboards meter fuel to a very precise air-to-fuel ratio based on load. The 2.5hp apparently gets an average of 2.5 hours running time of this one camping gas size bottle. Lehr outboards promise to start easily with no choke, no carburettor clog and no winterisation needed. The ability to share the stove’s fuel source is an added bonus. And for those fed up with pulling a throttle cable, the 9.9hp model has a self-contained electric start button and lithium-ion battery inside the engine.
Pricing is said to be competitive compared with the likes of Yamaha and Mercury.
The 2.5hp is £608 ex VAT. www.golehr.com