Extended 420km review: Evinrude E-TEC 250 G2 outboard motor

By: John Ford, Photography by: John Ford

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  • Trade-A-Boat

E TEC 250 G2 outboard motor

What better way to review the new Evinrude E-TEC 250 G2 outboard motor than to thrash it 420km to fish Seal Rocks and back, straight out of the box.

When I was asked if I would like to go fishing at Seal Rocks with Mike Bonnici, I thought I was being rewarded for a job well done and jumped at the chance. Mike is a gun fisho from Sydney’s northern beaches and I saw an opportunity to catch-up with some new techniques on plastics fishing.

When I asked how I would be getting to Seal Rocks, there was a long pause before being informed that we would be going in Mike’s 6.2m Sea Devil fishing boat to test the new 250hp E-TEC two-stroke outboard motor. It’s only 180km – each way!

Too late to back out, I met Mike and his mate Nick at the Bayview boat ramp just before dawn for our adventure.

 

E-TEC 250 G2

E-TEC 250 G2

There is no mistaking the new E-TEC 250 G2 with its distinctive covers. Rather than have a removable engine cowling over the top, instead side panels and a smaller top cover can be unclipped with zip locks to work on the motor.

The covers on the E-TEC G2 come in 12 colours to match hull gelcoats and there is also a mix of different decals to further customise the look. A single, flexible tube contains all the wiring, steering and fuel lines and attaches to the motor in probably the cleanest looking arrangement ever fitted to an outboard.

Adding to the minimalist look are power steering and trim systems built into the motor and as we found out later, the trim even has an automatic setting with manual override.

My initial impressions of the new E-TEC 250 G2 outboard motor were how much more torquey it is in the mid-range and how light and precise is the new power steering. The run along Pittwater gave a top speed of 46.5kts for a fuel use of 88lt/h, but it would only be in perfect conditions that we could hope to maintain such speed.

An rpm of 3500 saw the G2 250 attain 25kts on the GPS with a fuel burn of 30lt/h while 4000rpm got 31kts and 36.7lt/h, which compares very favourably with recent reviews I have done on similar-sized four-stroke outboards. With 320lt fuel capacity we were confident we could do the trip on one tank, although we had 75lt in jerry cans to cover ourselves.

We’d been promised calm sea conditions but in the misty rain around Lion Island it was soon clear it wasn’t going to be a dream run on glassy water and we were soon braced against the seats and hanging on for dear life into a nasty 1-1.5m chop.

Initial planning had predicted an average speed of just over 32kts for the three-hour run and a chance for some fishing off the Seal Rocks reefs before a pleasant sleep on board in the protected arms of Sugarloaf Point. Recalculating for the sea state it seemed likely to take an extra hour with a planned short break at Newcastle for some breakfast.

 

PERFORMANCE

E-TEC 250 G2 display

Down the back, the Evinrude G2 250 drove us on without complaint. Up front it was a wave every 10m, but it was all character building and a good workout for the knees and arms as we drove northward into the misty rain.

Conditions like this are challenging but the Evinrude outboard motor really helped with a massive amount of power in the mid-range. That gave instant acceleration when needed to thread our way through the calmest path and help get the low nose of the boat up out of the way of some of the larger swells.

The GPS gave us time and distance to go and at one stage I found myself checking it out after what seemed an eon only to find we had travelled only 300m. As the sun started to cast more light on the ocean, it took on the appearance of a vast expanse of mercury throwing off sprays of quicksilver as we charged forward.

To help pass the time I started to count the waves. With one every 10m, that’s 100 every kilometre, so over the northern journey that’s 18,000 waves – and probably another 18,000 on the way home. No wonder my muscles were starting to ache.

As much as many drivers will see the new auto-trim system as a bit of a gimmick, it was remarkable how good it was in practice. In all sea directions it worked extremely well, the large trim gauge showing where it was set for reassuring the driver that it was indeed working. In tricky conditions it is easy to over-ride, as just touching the button returns it to manual.

 

ELECTRONICS

Electronics on E-TEC 250 G2

Part of the new engine package includes a very comprehensive and easy-to-read screen display of all engine activity. This was helpful for an immediate update on fuel usage and also gave a suggested rev range for the most economical run.

Eventually, we were off Newcastle and dropped back to idle for a breakfast of cold chicken and an energy drink. At rest it’s clear how choppy the conditions were, but it was soon back on the throttle and on with our journey.

Tomaree, off Port Stephens, gradually appeared out of the horizon and we started to feel like we were getting somewhere, but it took another hour or so before we passed it and conditions got even rougher with an 18kts northeast wind stirring up the already turbulent water.

As Broughton Island faded into the distance behind us, the lighthouse at Seal Rocks was finally only a few kilometres away and we scoped the sounder for reefs suitable for an afternoon’s fishing.

The run took just over four hours at an average of 25kts, so it was great to have a break casting plastics and pulling in some nice snapper.

In planning the trip we thought it would be relaxing to spend a night on board in a sheltered haven, sleeping under the stars. It probably would have been – but the 20kts northerly whistling through the rigging wasn’t on the agenda and by the time dawn broke we had only managed a few hours’ sleep.

With the promise of tuna or better out wide, the return trip took a 10nm detour to the Norah Canyons for a few hours running home at trolling speed with a distance covered of some 20nm and 20lt of fuel used. No fish but at least it gave time for an afternoon siesta.

Heading south, we travelled with the swell but the sea was still big enough to keep speeds at around 25kts, with occasional sections where we were able to maintain 30kts.

 

THE VERDICT

Snapper fishing

By the time we were back in Pittwater we had covered a total of 227nm and 36,000 waves for a total fuel use of 298lt. Deducting the time at trolling speed we averaged 0.73nm/lt which is pretty good in conditions where we were on and off the throttle all the time. Oil is mixed at 75:1 and the engine readout indicated we had consumed right on 4lt.

Throughout the voyage the new outboard engine ran faultlessly and started immediately every time. There was only the occasional whiff of fumes that reminded me a little of the Castrol R smell of racing two-stroke engines of old.

If I could come up with a criticism, it would be that the induction noise of the engine is a bit loud in its mid-range, but even that is being addressed in the first batch of customer engines arriving in short number in October.

This new E-TEC outboard motor brings a sheaf of new features that add to the E-TEC’s appeal and shows that two-stroke engines have a viable future. Not much will come near the torque of the engine through its range, especially from 3000rpm.

Evinrude E-TEC Gen 2 engines come in 200, 225, 250 and 300hp power ratings, the rest of the range going to G2 over the coming 12 months [correction 15/12/14: we thought this was the case but it turns out we hand't confirmed this fact; at this moment we're not sure when the rest of the range will roll over to G2].

Pricing is yet to be confirmed and will depend on options including a range of instrument screens.

Visit evinrude.com for more information.

 

EVINRUDE E-TEC G2 SEA TRIALS

Sea Devil 620 fishing boat with single 250hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 outboard motor, three passengers and 75lt fuel.

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

Fuel Burn (LT/H)

1000

4

2.8

1500

6

5.4

2000

7

10

2500

14

16

3000

20

22

3500

25

30

4000

31

36

4500

35

44

5000

39

56

5500

43

71

5750 (WOT)

46.5

88

* Sea-trial data supplied by the author.

 

EVINRUDE E-TEC 250 G2 OUTBOARD SPECIFICATIONS

TYPE V6 direct injection two-stroke outboard motor

RATED HP 250hp

DISPLACEMENT 3441cc

WEIGHT 253kg  

GEAR RATIO 1.85:1         

PROPELLER 19in stainless steel three-blade

SUPPLIED BY BRP Australia

 

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