We test a speedy, sexy electric-powered runabout.
Insist your crew sits and holds on when you throttle up Zin Boats’ Z2R. An electric motor produces all of its torque all at once and all the time, from dead slow to wide open. Besides hole shot, that ability enables confident control on crowded water and in confused waves.
The Z2R proved quick too. With two aboard, we topped 35 mph.
Range? At top speed, expect about 45 minutes of time motoring this speedster (it also comes as an open-bowed tender). At 6 mph, enjoy six or more hours afloat. At moderate cruising speeds between 12 and 20 mph—the boat planed at 10 mph—expect two to five hours of use depending upon load.
A notional average outing might best provide a useful snapshot: You zoom out to a fishing hole or bathing beach 30 minutes from the dock, anchor for two hours, cruise at 12 mph for 20 minutes to a waterside bistro, then slowly motor home, admiring the sunset. You add a final burst of speed before reaching the no-wake zone and home.
If you plug into shore power at the restaurant while you eat (always tip your dockhand), you can go faster and farther. Recharge time is six to eight hours on a 15-amp circuit for a fully depleted battery.
Still suffering from range anxiety? The included Torqeedo electronics deliver a host of data, including real-time state-of-charge information, and computed range and running time at speed. Naturally, this system also monitors and controls charging. I found the display easy to read in sunlight.
The Zin Z2R bespeaks elegance and simplicity. It possesses the low-slung stance of a classic runabout from the 1960s, and the sportboat layout with two helm seats plus an aft bench is familiar to many. It has new millennium angularity rendered in carbon fiber and epoxy instead of roving and polyester. The interior features beautiful joinerwork of okoume plywood.
Whether you choose to adopt electric boating on principle or simply seek a sleek, unique, smoke-free, small boat that takes off like a bullet, consider the Zin Z2R.
This electric-powered boat provides enough speed and range to deliver a nice day on the water.
Lightweight, carbon-fiber construction aids performance and looks great.
Electronic monitoring system allays range anxiety.
Equivalent internal-combustion powered runabout would cost half—or even less.
Ironically, despite all this boat’s technology, it is a single straight inboard, and thus demands more experience to dock than boats with directional-thrust drivetrains.
Check the X-Shore EELOR 6000 ($163,000)—it’s a similar-size boat powered by an electric motor and Volvo Penta Duoprop sterndrive (xshore.com).
Available Power: Inboard
How We Tested
Motor: 66 kW Torqeedo Deep Blue 50i 1800
Drive/Prop: Inboard/14″ diameter 4-blade
Gear Ratio: 4.00:1
Battery Weight: 564 lb.
Water on Board: 0 gal.
Crew Weight: 350 lb.
Zin Boats - Seattle, Washington; 215-680-6935; zinboats.com
Price: $250,000 (with test power)