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The pontoon market surges to Vision Marine's advantage

by Vision Marine Technologies 19 May 12:36 PDT
The pontoon market surges to Vision Marine's advantage © Vision Marine Technologies

It is no secret that sales of recreational boats have skyrocketed in the last few years, and that trend is sure to continue for the foreseeable future. Pontoon boats have become an unusually hot commodity.

In a 2021 Q4 study done by Stratview Research, pontoons represented approximately 20% of the recreational boating market, with sales of pontoons having increased between 3% to 4% annually, while other boating segment sales are rising at a rate of just 2% to 3%. The pontoon boat market is expected to surpass $4 billion by 2028, up from $2.13 billion in 2021, expected to grow at an accelerated CAGR of 9% (Compound Annual Growth Rate) during that period.

The popularity of pontoons is due to versatility and functionality. Pontoons are designed with open areas and large decks, which allows for sizable group or family outings. Pontoons are also often used for casual fishing. The vessel's open layout leaves plenty of standing room and storage areas for fishing gear. Additionally, pontoons are commonly used for water sports, such as wakeboarding, waterskiing and tubing.

Pontoons were originally known to be slow cruisers, and were not popular for water sports. Traditionally, they have been powered by outboard motors with an internal combustion engine ("ICE"). During the past 10-15 years, outboard engines have come a long way, offering a wide range of more powerful options, with up to 600 horsepower. This additional power enables the vessel to have the requisite speed required to accommodate water activities, such as pulling a waterskier.

Similarly, electrifying a pontoon has not been a viable option because the electric outboard market solely offered minimal power and torque, which again, does not allow a pontoon boat to best perform consumer functionalities. This is where Vision Marine Technologies, Inc.'s (VMAR: NASDAQ) inflection point begins. Vision Marine's highly proprietary and disruptive E-Motion™ 180E is the first high performance fully electric outboard motor and associated powertrain available for the market.

The E-Motion™ is Vision Marine's flagship powertrain system and features an unrivaled 180 hp and enormous torque, whereas most motor technology that has been developed thus far by other companies has been of low voltage, low horsepower, and low performance. The E-Motion™ also lends to environmentally friendly technology which produces zero toxic emissions, zero pollution, and a noiseless environment. For the pontoon sector specifically, the E-Motion™ allows for a game changing serene atmosphere for a family and friends gathering. No one has to yell over a loud gasoline engine, nor do they have to inhale harmful fumes. Additionally, this is great for the fishing industry, as there is no loud motor scaring away the fish.

The E-Motion™ can be rigged to fit any 18 to 28 foot boat. In fact, at the International BoatBuilders' Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) 2021 in Tampa, Florida, Vision Marine showcased its E-Motion™ on a 22" Starcraft EX pontoon.

During the sea trials, the vessel reached an astounding top speed of 39 mph, more than 50% faster than the average pontoon speed of 22 mph. This remarkable achievement, due to an significant advancement in electric outboard technology, garnered tremendous attention.

Subsequently, Vision Marine continues to sea trial various boats from OEMs, and we are well positioned to scale production, due to our Manufacture & Supply Agreement with McLaren Engineering, a wholly owned subsidiary of Linamar Corporation (TSX: LNR). Under this agreement, McLaren Engineering will manufacture and assemble the company's E-Motion™ technology through testing, parts, tooling development, and designing the union assembly for mass production.

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