By: Scott Way
Despite purchasing the 7 Marine engine company in just 2017, Volvo Penta will discontinue production of the world's most powerful outboard engine effective January 1st, 2021. In an announcement this week, Volvo Penta's commitment to higher environmental standards and net-zero emissions will see them phase out production once existing customer demand is met. The company will, however, continue to support their customer base regarding existing warranties and replacement parts.
As part of their pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, Volvo Penta has committed to the Science Based Targets Initiative, which will see a significant portion of their resources being allocated to development of fuel cell systems for commercial vehicles within Volvo Group.
“In the future, the world will be powered by a combination of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles, along with other renewable fuels to some extent. The formation of our fuel-cell joint venture is an important step in shaping a world we want to live in,” said Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO of the Volvo Group.
With respect to marine products, the company will focus on its inboard and sterndrive development -- namely greater fuel efficiency and zero emissions by utilizing hybrid, electric, and renewable fuels.
From Volvo Penta President Heléne Mellquist, “Volvo Penta welcomes this increased focus across the Volvo Group. We will support these objectives by intensifying our ongoing efforts and resources towards continued development of sustainable solutions. This focus includes advancements of innovative solutions such as our unique Volvo Penta IPS and sterndrive ranges.”
Volvo Penta's prognostications regarding the future of the outboard market were also evident, as Mellquist stated that while they do believe the outboard segment is relevant, the greater focus lies in long-term sustainability:
“We want to send a clear message. Volvo Penta does foresee that the outboard segment will continue to be relevant for the Marine Leisure market, but we believe that the indisputable need to drive advancements in sustainable technology must be our main focus. This is why, for the time being, the exploration of new technology together with the development of our core business, such as Volvo Penta IPS and sterndrives, will be the center of our efforts.”
It remains to be seen how the discontinuation will affect the high-end performance market, as some manufacturers have strong loyalties to 7 Marine and its high-output engines. As one example, the recent re-launch of Pantera powerboats included a 7 Marine 627 hp supercharged V8 on one of its showcase models.
Volvo Penta has reached several environmental milestones in recent months, including the sale of 30,000 IPS (Inboard Performance System) units, which have correlated to significant reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions industry wide.