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Silent Running

General Motors, the iconic builder of automobiles and engines, has unveiled a stylish all-electric pontoon boat.

General Motors electric pontoon boat

Photo: General Motors

There's a wide variety of pontoon boats on the water, but none are like First, the prototype all-electric pontoon from Forward Marine, part of General Motors' Marine Technology division.

The 24-foot (with 8-foot beam) all-aluminum boat was introduced at the Miami International Boat Show in February to gauge reaction from the boating public. The results, they say, were encouraging.

"Think about it — minimal maintenance, no refueling, no mess, no extra fuel costs, and virtually silent operation," says Dan Nicholson, vice president of global electrification, controls, software, and electronic hardware. "This is the boat that will make relaxation more relaxing."

Fuel up General Motors electric pontoon boat

"Fueling up" GM's electric pontoon boat. (Photo: General Motors)

First is powered by a 60-kWh propulsion system with battery bank, inverters, and an electric motor coupled with a Volvo Penta DuoProp sterndrive. It can be recharged with a standard 110-volt extension cord or a 220-volt SAE charge station. Peak horsepower is equal to 200 hp, according to GM, and top speed is 20 mph. The boat can run for 10 hours at its 5 mph cruising speed. Full charge time at 220V is 9.3 hours; 2 days at 110V.

While no price has been established, GM says the prototype design "targets the mid- to premium price range of conventional pontoons for sale today."

To learn more, visit To provide feedback on your thoughts about the concept, which GM is encouraging, click the "contact us" button.


Rich Armstrong

The New Jersey shore and lakes of lower New York defined Rich's childhood. But when he bought a 21-foot Four Winns deck boat and introduced his young family to the Connecticut River, his love for the world of boats flourished over the years from there. A journalist by training, he worked in TV news and at several newspapers before combining his passions for 18 years at the boating publications Soundings and Soundings Trade Only, where as Managing Editor he reported on everything from boat and product innovation, to compelling feature stories, and built his reputation in the marine industry as one of the most thorough reporters in our business.