Designer/craftsman Bart Jones and medical device entrepreneur Howard Root are working on revolutionizing pontoon boats with their new company ELUX Marine. They’ve been working together now for several years, developing all-electric luxury fiberglass pontoons.
One hundred percent powered with lithium batteries, their boats are sleek and silent on the lake. These gorgeous vessels look unlike any other pontoon boat on the water and they’re basically maintenance-free since they’re electric. That means saying goodbye to tune-ups, spark plugs and oil changes, and hello to hassle-free fun on the water.
Inspired By Europe
As the inventor, Jones made the first prototype models of the ELUX pontoons in 2013. He was intrigued with the boats coming out of Europe at the time and knew the pontoon market was hot, so he decided to take his work with electric drivelines and fuse it together into a pontoon inspired by the European design.
“I love the clean Italian lines,” described Jones. “I guess you could say I patterned the design after an Italian yacht.”
ELUX Marine took their time with the design and engineering of their Stealth pontoon boat, making sure to get everything exactly as they wanted it. Their focus last year was all about getting boats on the water and testing them to make sure there were no unforeseen issues. With their successful testing last year, Jones and Root are confident their pontoons are only going to grow in popularity as people discover the benefits of going electric.
When it came to the functional design of the ELUX Stealth pontoons, one of the goals was to get rid of the outboard motor that took up the middle of the transom. Jones knew that if they did it right, they could have the motor underneath the boat. In order to do this, they’d first have to design their own driveline that would go completely under the boat and keep the prop out of the way from swimmers.
So they started from scratch, creating their own unique design. The Stealth’s driveline has only one moving part and the shaft of the motor is coupled directly to the prop shaft. This is on an articulating drive pod that can tilt up and down.
“Our drive system is completely unique to this boat,” explained Jones. “We designed it from scratch to do everything that we wanted it to do. That’s how we were able to have an open transom.”
Recently the PDB staff met up with Jones and Root for a quiet ride on the ELUX and came away not only impressed by the looks, but with the function as well. The open transom is a very attractive feature on the boat, allowing it to have a great swim platform and spacious area for guests in the back. From there, Jones and the rest of the design team tackled other issues they’d noticed on other boats.
A couple of these issues included spaces for garbage cans and coolers. Jones lamented over the way garbage cans on boats are often overlooked and people end up hanging random bags off various areas of the boat to create makeshift garbage bins. Then with the coolers, somehow they always end up right in the walkway with people tripping over them or sitting on them.
So right from the start, ELUX models have the garbage taken care of with full-sized garbage and recycling bins that fit neatly under the helm in a rolling cabinet. Then for the coolers, there’s a dedicated space where you can drop it down once you’re on the boat. It’s on rollers, super easy to use and non-invasive.
Bye Bye Bimini
Another thing the ELUX team didn’t want in their design was a typical Bimini top. Jones had spent 20 years making and repairing Bimini tops so he’d had enough of them by the time he approached the ELUX design, finding that Bimini tops usually cause more issues than they solve.
“Bimini tops are usually pretty cantankerous with poles going all different directions,” explained Jones. “We didn’t want to ruin the pretty lines of the boat, so we did what they’re doing in Europe—we designed our own shade sail.”
With these shade sails, one person can put it up or take it down in about fives minutes without breaking a sweat. There are four rod holders that go in, then you click the shade sail up and it’s done in no time. Then you can take it down with the same level of ease and have the boat completely clean.
Jones’s wife Roxy is also an avid boater and she had some savvy suggestions when it came to features on the boat. “She was adamant that we have lockable storage and that we have charge ports,” Jones pointed out. “She’s a boater and when she has a strong opinion, she’s usually right.”
Needless to say, the ELUX electric pontoon features three charge ports and lockable storage. The charge ports ensure that everyone’s phone can remain charged and the lockable storage keeps all the valuables safe while you and your family play on the sandbar at the lake.
ELUX Marine also designed their boats with family in mind. Part of the reason they designed the transom gate in the stern was because they knew many pontoon owners have kids.
“We knew parents wouldn’t want the kids running off the back of the boat so we put a gate there,” added Jones. “We also wanted the sides of the boat to be high enough so that you wouldn’t have to worry about children falling over the sides—so you’ve got a pretty safe playpen, so to speak.”
Beyond that, Jones and the rest of the team wanted to create an environment where everyone is together facing one another. On many boats, the driver can feel isolated from those having a great time in the front and back, and the ELUX team wanted to avoid this kind of situation. They wanted to keep people together, not separated.
They did this by lowering the seating in the bow so that the driver could still have optimum visibility for driving, and then they angled the rest of the seating inward in the boat so that everyone would be facing each other. This way, no one feels left out and the driver can still see.
“Speed is the number one misconception when it comes to electric pontoons,” explained Jones. “Our top speed is between 12 and 14 miles per hour which is not exactly fast, but it’s a lot faster than people think it is.”
Many buyers are willing to dismiss the boat on these grounds, but what people need to realize is that speed on the water is completely different than speed on land. At last year’s Minneapolis Boat Show, ELUX Marine had a video of the boat running at full speed and would ask people how fast they thought the boat was going. Without fail, the people would guess somewhere between 20 to 25 miles per hour when it was actually going 12.
This helped people realize that 12 miles per hour is much faster on the water than they think. “Generally when people are just cruising the lake, they’re going between 5 and 8 miles per hour,” noted Jones. “For the most part, unless you’re trying to pull a tube or something, boating is a relaxing thing and you’ll never need to go faster than 12.”
At a cocktail cruising speed of around 4 to 6 miles per hour, you could run the ELUX electric pontoon for about 10 hours without a problem. Or course the faster you go, the less run time you have. However, with mixed use of what most typical boaters do on the water, there’ll be no problem when it comes to getting all-day use out of it.
The boat has a dual gauge that’s custom designed for the ELUX battery back and drive system. The gauge has bars showing your state of charge just like a gas gauge. Then underneath is a voltage meter showing real-time pack voltage. With this data, boaters will never need to worry about running out of juice in the middle of the lake.
The pontoon takes about 12 hours to charge in a standard 110/115-amp outlet at home. That way, if you plug it in at 8 p.m. it’ll be ready to go come 8 in the morning. It’s as simple as that.
Perks Of Electric
Of course, one of the biggest perks of going electric with pontoon boats is the fact that there’s no maintenance. Boaters can get so tired of all the maintenance, tune-ups and winterizing over the years. With the ELUX electric pontoon, there’s really nothing like that. You simply plug it in to charge and you’re done.
“It’s the most enjoyable way to use the water without all the hassle,” said Jones.
With its beautiful and sturdy design, the ELUX Stealth all-electric fiberglass pontoon is a force to be reckoned with. There’s no doubt that as boaters continue to discover the benefits of owning an electric pontoon with such a thoughtful design and layout as this, there will be plenty of ELUX vessels out cruising the lake in no time.
ELUX Stealth Specifications
LOA: 24’ 6”
Beam: 8’ 6”
Capacity: 12 people
Weight: 3,500 lbs.
Battery Type: Lithium Li-NCM
Battery Construction: 60 blocks containing 420 cells
Voltage (nominal): 72V
Battery Weight: 424 lbs.
Onboard Charger: Delta Q1500, 1200W max. DC output power
Recharge Power: 110V 15amp AC