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Diesel outboards are the unheralded workhorses of some commercial sectors and now they are on their way to Australian boaters.


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Diesel outboards are not new, but what is new is the technology that powering them and the changing requirements of boaters. Leading outboard manufacturer Mercury was told by one of its major customers, the US navy, that it was phasing out the highly-flammable petrol on its ships in favour of only diesel-like fuels JP-5 and JP-8. Reliability, longevity and vastly-improved fuel consumption is cited by another new customer, the US Coastguard, for its current trials of these new diesel outboards: the Mercury, Cox and Oxe diesel outboards. For example, the Swedish-built Oxe claims a consumption of 42% less fuel than a comparable modern 200hp two-stroke outboard.

Elsewhere, major inboard diesel manufacturer Yanmar has partnered with German innovator Neander to produce the Dtorque 50hp outboard that claims an operating life exceeding 10,000 hours - figures that especially appeal to operators of commercial vessels. A similar story is emerging from the superyacht sector where industry standards and captains are turning away from petrol outboards to the safer diesel ones. Following Yanmar, Swedish diesel giant Volvo Penta bought Seven Marine last July. Seven make the world's most powerful outboards – 627hp petrol models - and given the synergies with Volvo technology it could easily enable them to make diesel outboards in the near future.


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These new engines are all notable in different ways, such as the unusual spark plug combustion design of the Neander-Yanmar and Mercury OptiMax JP. Most powerful is the British-made 300hp Cox CX0300, who partnered with Xenta System to create a joystick transmission to manage this large motor. Global Sales Director Joel Reid told Trade-a-Boat that their motor will stand out from its competitors but not just in power alone.

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"Our CXO300 has been designed to perform against gasoline outboards, as our market is asking for transient response - high and getting onto the plane quickly. This is why we have incorporated a super charger to get the engine going quickly," Reid said.Interestingly, the Mercury 175hp OptiMax JP was developed by the racing division of the company, which says a lot about the expectations and design of this 3.0-litre V6 diesel. The Swedish Oxe uses a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-charged diesel car motor that comes with an advanced CANbus transmission and joystick controls, as well as some unusual engineering, chief commercial officer Stefan Nybann told Trade-a-Boat: "We have our patented solution, the belt drive that transfers the power from the engine to the propeller shaft, that allows us to make full use of the power of a diesel engine at higher horse power ratings. The bevel gear system used in petrol outboards can’t, over time, stand the high torque that a diesel engine delivers. Only our belt drive system can do that."


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Oxe, along with Cox and Dtorque diesel outboards, are being imported this year by Australian distributor Power Equipment Solutions.

"We plan to have the Dtorque and Oxe range available by quarter four, 2018," said Joy Wotherspoon from the Melbourne-based company. These three brands offer a wide horse power range (from 50-300hp).

"Our target market will be the commercial sectors, military and perhaps surf life-saving, plus commercial fishing sectors," added Wotherspoon. This sales initiative is being led by General Manager Luke Foster who is keen to grow new sectors for the company. Power Equipment Solutions are also the distributor for the innovative electric outboard Torqeedo.

Over in New Zealand, Sports Marine Ltd has just been announced as distributor for Cox Powertrain, Sports Marine Director Ian Williamson told local media: "There is a real desire for marine propulsion that is reliable and long-lasting. We have already received a huge level of interest in the CXO300 from customers who have been waiting a very long time for a high-performance diesel such as the CXO300 in this region." A prototype CXO300 has just been exhibited at the Auckland boat show (17-20 May 2018).




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Oxe diesel





In introducing the diesel outboard market Trade-a-Boat were invited to test the recently-released Oxe 200hp, so we sent KEVIN GREEN for an in-depth look at the OXE 200.

With a power head about the size of two cases of VB, the 200hp Oxe diesel looked an impressive beast as it burbled quietly on the back of the Naid 6.7m RIB. My opinion didn't change as we cruised along the smooth Patterson Lakes, steadily accelerating to 21kt cruising speed as the common-rail, turbo-charged four-cylinder engine spun at 3,500rpm and the consumption showed 31.6 litres per hour; pushing on to a top speed of 28kt consumed 43 l/ph.


Accelerating to there was unremarkable, but this is a work horse rather than a race horse, and noise levels were relatively unobtrusive. Torque is handy for pulling gear or hefting loads and the Oxe showed this as we banked into tight turns with our speed maintained throughout (with four blokes aboard). Another plus was the gearbox. As a former commercial fisherman I liked the quick shift transmission that allowed fast forward and reverse changes, making it ideal for evasive action around ropes or those tedious jobs on fish farms. Costing $74,000, the value proposition will have to be calculated in relation to its long life: a minimum of 10,000 hours, long service intervals (200 hours) between changes of transmission drive belts and, of course, fuel economy.  Distributor Power Equipment will establish service centres according to demand, but according to General Manager Luke foster, commercial operators will be encouraged to do their own servicing.



QUICK SPECS - Oxe diesel (200hp)

PRICE - $74,000

TYPE - 2.0L inline four

WEIGHT - 350kg

TORQUE - 415Nm at 2,500rpm


DIMENSIONS - 25in leg model (994 X 1180 X 678mm)

WEB www.oxe-diesel.com


Check out the full feature in issue #506 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest boat news, reviews and travel inspiration. 



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