What’s bigger than a kayak, smaller than a technical skiff, and fits in the bed of your pick-up truck? Why it’s the new Veer X13, the first model from a new boat brand just revealed by Brunswick Boat Group. The boat debuted today in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show alongside the Mercury Avator 7.5e electric outboard motor. Both the Veer brand and the Avator outboard have been teased for some time, with the Avator highlighted on the Mercury Marine website, and the plan to introduce a new boat brand aimed at “younger and more diverse consumers” presented to Brunswick investors two years ago. In 2023, both Veer and Avator will reach consumers.
The Veer X will be sold with the Avator 7.5e outboard, but apparently not right away. The boat will be available this spring only with a Mercury FourStroke 9.9 internal combustion outboard. The electric Avator will not be ready for sale until later in 2023. The 13-foot Veer X13 will have a base price of $11,995 with the Mercury 9.9 and a galvanized trailer. The X13 is the first of several Veer models expected to debut in the next year or two, each designed to make boat ownership as accessible as possible. There will be a Veer dealer network, but Brunswick also implies that customers will be able to order a Veer online. The company declined to offer details on how the boats will be retailed. We expect Veer models to also appear in Brunswick-owned Freedom Boat Club rental fleets.
Veer to Change Course
The Veer X13 was engineered by the angling experts at Lund Boats, also a Brunswick brand. The boat is rotomolded in one piece in durable polyethylene with its internal cavity filled with rigid foam. Beam is 48 inches, specifically to fit between the wheel wells of your F-150, which in theory would facilitate transport to water where no launch ramp is available. The boat weighs 382 pounds without power, so you are not going to pick it up and toss it into a truck bed, and a support beyond the tailgate will be required. Boat and motor on its trailer weighs just 835 pounds, an easy tow behind just about any vehicle that can mount a hitch. Boat capacity is two passengers and 550 pounds, and Brunswick claims draft at rest is only 6.3 inches.
Veer X13 Specifications
|Seat/Weight Capacity:||2/550 pounds|
|Dry Weight (w/o motor):||382 pounds|
|Colors:||Seafoam or Gray|
The skipper sits on a padded bench seat at the transom. A 3-gallon fuel tank fits below the seat space, which is open fore and aft for ventilation. When the boat is powered by an electric outboard, remote battery packs will stow below the foredeck hatch. There are two stowage compartments in the sole at the skipper’s feet, with room for a medium-size cooler forward. All horizontal surfaces are covered with soft Marine Mat material, including the forward casting deck. The footwell is above water level and drains through the transom. Criss-cross elastic cords on the foredeck appear intended to secure light gear like a net. The boat will only be sold with a rope-start outboard, so there’s no battery and no lights. Rails along the cockpit gunwales accept Lund SportTrak accessories, including a Quik-Clip rod holder, a tool caddy and drink holder. Other options include a shallow-water anchor and a standing bar, intended to offer support while running the boat standing with a tiller extension or when moving around the deck. The standing bar secures with two clevis pins and is easy to remove.
We’ve walked around the Veer X13 and the boat appears to be well finished. The polyethylene material backed with foam should be very resistant to dock rash and beaching on a rocky shoreline. Freeboard is minimal, so the Veer seems best-suited to angling and gunkholing inshore and on protected lakes and rivers. Brunswick has not offered any performance data. We can’t wait to run this boat to see how it performs.
Courtesy Mercury Marine
Mercury Goes Electric
The Avator 7.5e is the first in a series of Avator electric motors Mercury will introduce in 2023. This is the motor we’ve seen on the Mercury website, distinguished by its removable battery pack, which can be carried away from the boat for charging. Mercury says the Avator 7.5e generates 750 watts of power and offers performance equivalent to the Mercury 3.5hp FourStroke outboard. The 48-volt, 1 kWh lithium battery was designed with Brunswick partner Mastervolt. Using transverse flux technology, Mercury says the motor generates high torque with little effort to maximize battery life and range, and hydrodynamics and propeller design are focused on efficiency.
“The Avator 7.5e is much more than just an outboard,” said Tim Reid, Mercury Marine vice president of product development and engineering. “We created an entire propulsion system, fully integrated from the advanced controls, props and digital gauges to an all-new mobile app. Every aspect was designed with the same attention to quality, durability and reliability as all Mercury products. We’re confident the Avator 7.5e outboard will deliver a superior boating experience for boaters interested in powering small vessels with electric propulsion.”
The Avator 7.5e will be available in 15-, 20- and 25-inch lengths, and the 15-inch models weighs 43 pounds without the battery, about 5 pounds more than a Mercury 3.5hp FourStroke outboard. The battery itself weighs some 15 pounds. The drive element can be removed from the transom bracket at the steering pivot, so you could leave the bracket on the boat and tote away the rest of the motor, which then weighs just 37 pounds. This also makes it very easy to install the motor – screw on the transom bracket first, then attach the drive, and finally drop in the battery.
Courtesy Mercury Marine
The 7.5e model may only be powered by its built-in battery, so extending range will require carrying a second battery pack, which is as easy to change as the battery on your cordless drill – Veer intends to package the Avator 7.5e-powered X13 with two batteries. Mercury is not able to estimate range due to all of the obvious factors affecting small boat efficiency, including wind and current, boat size and load, and also ambient temperature, which will impact battery efficiency. The battery must be removed from the outboard for charging. Two charging options will be available – a 110W charger and a 230W charger – both of which plug into standard house current. Charging times for a depleted battery is stated as 10 hours with 130W charger and 4.5 hours using the 230W charger. A display on the motor offers a lot of information, including battery level as a percentage or on a scale, battery estimated time and distance to empty, power output in kW, vessel speed, a moving propeller indicator and alerts/faults. The display can also be used to change throttle direction for hand preference, as shifting and throttle is accomplished in the tiller handle grip. Maintenance is limited to checking a sacrificial anode, greasing the propshaft, rinsing off salt and maintaining battery state of charge.
The Avator 7.5e will be available for sale later in 2023. Mercury is not ready to reveal pricing. At CES Mercury also displayed Avator 20e and 35e models, which we assume will produce 2.0 kW and 3.5 kW of power if the naming nomenclature is consistent. If thrust stays consistent, that makes the 35e model equivalent to about 14 horsepower. The Avator 20e and 35e models will require a remote battery, and since there’s a battery compartment on the Veer X13, we expect one of these more-powerful electric motors will be offered for the Veer X13.
Brunswick will release more information on Veer Boats at veerboats.com and Avator outboards at mercurymarine.com/avator throughout the coming year.