As a variation on their Duoprops, Volvo Penta introduced the Inboard Performance System (IPS) almost 10 years ago. The shift was radical at the time with drives positioned on the bottom of the boat rather than the traditional position on the transom.
The modern inboard propulsion system boasts a leading pod system status “superior to inboard shafts in every vital aspect – handling, onboard comfort and performance.” The Volvo Penta IPS also provides 30% reduced fuel consumption, 30% less CO2 emissions, 40% longer cruising range and 20% higher top speeds—as compared with inboard shafts at cruising with planing hulls (approximate figures). Acceleration is faster, too.
Thanks to its easy-to-operate qualities that transform the novice into an experienced boat handler, the system has become increasingly popular on leisure boats. The fact that it plays a front and center role in Zeelander’s operation of their 44 points again to Zeelander’s pulling out all of the stops to outfit their vessels with the best of the best. Normally boats much larger than the 44 would offer the Volvo Penta IPS. Zeelander is currently offering two IPS configurations in the Z44: twin Volvo Penta IPS 500s / 375 hp or IPS 600s / 435 hp.
The ease of operation of the Volvo Penta IPS rests heavily on the joystick. It allows anyone who can play a video game to intuitively dock a boat. Zeelander President John Slate described the ease of operation and benefit of pod control, “I can have anyone docking a boat like an expert in a half hour. Everyone loves a boat but the idea of actual boating can be intimidating. No one wants to get behind the helm and then crash it into a dock or into a big yacht at their marina. The joystick system takes all of this away. You can feel comfortable taking it out, keeping your family safe, going to dinner and looking like an expert when docking.”
Other key benefits of Volvo Penta’s IPS include minimal noise and vibration with little, if any, smoke or smell. In fact, the exhaust gases exit the drive units underwater. Slate said, “We’ve also been working with Volvo to come up with a brand new motor mount. We’ve pretty much pushed them past their envelope of comfort in our quest for a ride that’s quiet and vibration-free.”
Upgrades and modifications are simplified due to having computer and software in charge of the pod drives. One just installs new software with a click. The computer operation also allows for easy diagnostics and remedies via your laptop or smartphone through Volvo’s VODIA program. All components and aspects of the IPS are integrated through the EVC (Electronic Vessel Control) where they are controlled and monitored, giving owners any advance warning of issues. The ease of steering and shifting also come courtesy of the EVC.
Zeelander’s IPS system is enhanced by another smart Volvo feature called DPS or Dynamic Positioning System. Controls have buttons for low-speed mode, single-lever mode and cruise control. The system holds the boat’s heading and keeps it there even in tough conditions, coming in handy while waiting to fuel or for a bridge, allowing time to position fenders and prep lines if needed.
Approximately fifty boat builders, including Zeelander, in the US offer models with Volvo Penta IPS (130 worldwide). It’s an impressive propulsion system for an equally impressive, detail-oriented builder. Both the upcoming Zeelander 55′ and future Zeelander 68′ will feature Volvo Penta IPS.