Volvo Penta in early June introduced a joystick helm control system — Joystick Inboard — for conventional twin inboard-powered boats, along with another model of its Inboard Performance System. The new IPS couples a new pod (IPS 15) and a new diesel, the D8, which is offered in 600- and 550-hp models. The IPS700 uses the 550-hp D8, and the IPS800 works with the 600-hp D8. The D8 is a new 8-liter, inline six-cylinder diesel that was put into production on Volvo trucks and buses in 2013.
The IPS700/800 bridges the gap between the IPS600 (435 hp) and IPS950 (725 hp).
The IPS700/800 can be used in twin and triple installations on boats from 45 to 55 feet. The IPS range spans 350- to 900-hp versions. IPS was introduced in 2005, and its accompanying joystick came to the market in 2006.
Ten years later, Volvo Penta has taken that joystick technology and married it to conventional shaft-driven diesels. Joystick Inboard can be used with all electronically controlled Volvo Penta diesels from the D3 (150 hp) to the D13 (900 hp) in twin applications. Joystick Inboard uses the engine’s propellers, electrical steerage of the rudders and a bow thruster to maneuver the boat.
With the Joystick Inboard’s arrival, Volvo Penta now has joystick helm control for all of its propulsion drive applications — pods, sterndrives and straight shafts.
The Joystick Inboard was formally introduced at Volvo Penta’s Krossholmen Test Center in Gothenburg, Sweden, at a four-day media event.
Volvo Penta corporate and marketing executives and product experts gave new-product presentations to about 100 journalists from the Americas, Europe, Australia, Japan and Russia. Current and new products were installed on seven test boats ranging from 22 to 56 feet, including runabouts, pilothouse cruisers and motoryachts.
“This is an important event for us, allowing media to experience the products on the water,” says Stefan Carlsson, senior vice president of Volvo Penta’s marine diesel segment.
Joystick Inboard was installed on a Cranchi sport yacht, powered with twin 600-hp D8 diesels. I had a chance to drive the boat, ending my sea trial by docking the 48-footer. Although joystick control with IPS and its pods may be somewhat quicker to respond overall, Joystick Inboard gets the same job done, twisting, turning and pushing the boat in all directions. It may actually be more responsive for quick 360-degree rotation of the boat, says Marcus Petterssson, technical project manager for Joystick Inboard.
Volvo Penta broadened its range of multifunction display screen sizes for its Glass Cockpit, which now span 7 to 24 inches.
Volvo Penta also introduced a battery management system that consolidates a boat’s conventional electrical setup, cutting out components such as battery switches, terminal blocks, battery guards and charge distributors. It can be controlled by Volvo Penta’s e-Key remote, allowing the boater to switch on/off the main breakers and lock/unlock Volvo Penta’s Electronic Vessel Control, or EVC.
“As a boatbuilder, it saves you both effort and installation time and gives you a more robust installation,” says Petter Andoff, chief project manager of marine electronics. “As an end user you get added functionality and car-like integration. It keeps the boater updated on battery status.”
Volvo Penta also says its acquisition of the Swedish company Humphree will allow the propulsion company to extend its trim and stabilization functions. Volvo Penta since 2013 has used Humphree as a supplier for its Interceptor System, which provides automatic trim tab control. An IS upgrade will be launched this year.
This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue.