Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
In 2020, Princecraft first gave us the opportunity to test their Brio series of electric powered pontoon boats. Since that time, the global shift towards electric power options has grown with major commitments into electric strategies from the automotive sector, new electric options in the power tools category, and what I would call the beginnings of expanded electric options in boating. The introduction of the 2022 Brio 2.0 Electric Series is certainly going to turn up the competitive heat.
The Brio 2.0 Series is now comprised of three completely redesigned models in your choice of 17’, 19’, and 21’. This new lineup began in a R&D lab with an underlying commitment to building these models, from the top of the bimini to the bottom of the pontoon tube, around electric propulsion.
The power behind the Brio is the Torqeedo Cruise lineup – your choice of Cruise 2.0 (2,000W of power comparable to a 5-6 HP conventional outboard), Cruise 4.0 (4,000W akin to 8-10 HP) or the Cruise 10.0 (10,000W continuous power with a boost comparable to 20 HP). All of the Brio 2.0 models are available with a solar panel charging option, allowing you to spend more time on the water.
The 210-2S model is crafted at the Princecraft factory to a 21’7” (6.6 m) length overall and carries a 97” (2.5 m) beam. I was immediately appreciative that this new series was wider on the beam – a full 6” wider than the previous Brio and a definite win for owners and guests. With an approximate weight of only 1,605 lbs (728 kg), it’s important to note that Transport Canada rates the 210-2S model for 9 persons (1,200 lbs / 544 kg).
Princecraft dressed our test boat with the following options:
• Torqeedo Cruise 10.0 with 2 Torqeedo batteries, 48V power, & fast charger
• Concert package with 160W Jensen sound system, LED docking lights
• Tilt steering wheel, sliding driver seat, and trim system
• Mooring cover & full camper enclosure
She looks and feels like many other Princecraft boats we’ve tested. Her interior vinyl is crafted with quality materials, her bottom still incorporates the factories well respected 2 ½” heavy duty extruded Z-aluminum cross channels, and up top she uses 1 ¼” anodized rails like many sister pontoons from within Princecraft. The 210-2S incorporates a total of three gates on the bow, stern, and port side, all of which use lift and lock hinges. The seat bases are roto-cast self-draining designs, there’s a comfortable pair of folding swivel fishing seats on the bow, and additional storage is found to the stern and under all lounges.
The helm features a roto-moulded console with a storage net, lighted switches, and a courtesy light. I’d like to see an aesthetic treatment where the traditional dash gauges are placed and expect that will come in the near term. The new throttle package incorporates real time data monitoring including battery voltage, battery charge, speed, remaining charge at current speed, and input power consumption.
Electrification requires a different mindset when we ease out on the water for performance data running tests. The relevance of hole shot tests, mapping out various cruising speeds, and ‘fly by’ video reels is, quite frankly, irrelevant at this time. After some team conversation we focused our energies and attention on the feel of the Brio, the capability of the new battery systems, and we openly speculated on her market acceptance.
Leaving the busy media testing docks – in silence – was instantly appealing, and it only took seconds to appreciate how much additional power there was thanks to the Cruise 10.0 package. She backed out of the dock with ease and efficiently turned 90 degrees to move us towards open water.
The sounds of silence continued as the Brio found her way to 15 km/h and it’s near impossible not to notice the unique feel of the Torqeedo throttle. I took a few moments to tinker with the built-in gauge package and feel confident in saying that any boater with a hint of tech savvy will appreciate the simplicity of accessing the relevant data.
I noticed when running at maximum output this did seem to consume a fair bit of the power. We left the docks at near 100%, and within 30 minutes had used up just under 30%. At that time, we backed down to completing the remainder of our testing at closer to 10 km/h and over the next hour we barely used an additional 10% battery capacity. I am told the new system will provide up to 4 hours run time, and not unlike conventional engines that time will depend on how the throttle is used. Torqeedo’s own website suggests that reducing to half throttle will double the operator’s range.
The new Brio 2.0 Series from Princecraft will absolutely receive positive acceptance in markets where gasoline power is not an option and with families looking for an easy way to get out on the water. Is she likely to set any speed records? No. But, I’m willing to bet this lineup will break some sales records and certainly deliver years of satisfaction to her owners.
|Dry weight:||1,605 lbs||728 kg|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Torqeedo Cruise 2.0RL|