Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
As you may have already guessed the ‘e’ stands for ELECTRIC. Yes, the Brio E 17 is an electric powered pontoon boat. While still currently a niche market, the Brio series is designed for small lakes or lakes that do not allow gasoline power. Princecraft is well known for decades of crafting incredible fishing machines and luxurious pontoon packages. That experience makes it a perfect platform from which to design, carefully and instinctively, a series of boats for this segment of the market.
The Brio has similar foundational structure as every other Princecraft pontoon. The undercarriage is similar in design although given her ultra-light weight of only 1,306 lbs (592 kg) she doesn’t require the same number of cross channels. Don’t take that as a weakness, the Princecraft engineers were meticulous in the creation of this craft using the same 2 ½” heavy duty extruded Z aluminum cross channels as their other models. They also incorporate 1 ¼” anodized aluminum rails, sealed bulkheads on the 23” pontoon logs, pressure treated wood flooring, multiple chromed deck cleats and more.
Her interior features plush, heavy weight upholstery, plenty of storage and a foldable swiveling driver’s seat. The helm features a rotomolded console, lighted switches, 160-Watt Jensen sound system with 4 speakers, 12 V charging outlet, a quick release smoked windscreen, bow stern and port side gates, cup holders, navigation lights, stern reboarding ladder as well as a very unique throttle (more on that later). Consumer choice of a black or taupe bimini is standard and travelling struts are included allowing you to move your Brio to different lakes safely and with ease.
Optional features include a mood package with bow snack table, anti-skid vinyl flooring, raised rails and more
Here’s where she gets interesting. The Brio is powered by a Torqeedo 24 V electric engine and consumers can choose from either the 2.0R or the 4.0R model. Either way your helm will include a unique control box – about the size of a plus model iPhone. The control box includes a display panel that monitors battery supply, voltage, speed and input power consumption. The simple to use fob attaches (like a treadmill fob) and once attached power is ready. Admittedly I pulled the throttle into reverse not realizing she was powered and ready – Whoops. Happy to say the only harm was to my ego!
Princecraft have done a masterful job of offering unique options for the Brio. If shallow waters are a concern and you need power trim and tilt you can have it. If longer range is a desire there are multiple options for adding 24 or 48V solar panels. The standard Brio includes 4 deep cycle batteries, and you can readily add a second bank if you wish.
Writing a test on the Brio isn’t about scribing about hole shots and top speeds. It is quite simply about whisper quiet rides and the supple sounds of water playing on the pontoon tubes below. It is about experiencing nature in a way that perhaps you never have or taking a slow cruise down a quiet river with a handful of close friends. It’s simply about quality time.
The Brio series from Princecraft isn’t for everyone – nor is it intended to be. She’s about boating where you currently can’t, being on the water in an environmentally friendly way like you never have while laughing and enjoying life and moments. And I’d say that’s just about perfect.
|Dry weight:||1,306 lbs||592 kg|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Torqueedo|