Vision Marine Technologies Out to Make Electric-Powered UIM/APBA Speed Record Attempt

"KILO" runs at Lake of the Ozarks Shootout will be the venue for the record run.
Vision Marine setting a speed record
Vision Marine Technologies powered Hellkats Powerboats during its record-setting run in 2022 with Shaun Torrente at the helm. In 2023, a new record attempt will take place with a twin-motor boat with Torrente again at the helm and integral to the boat design and setup. Courtesy Vision Marine Technologies

Vision Marine Technologies has announced its intention to set an absolute world speed record for an electric-powered boat at a UIM-sanctioned kilo run on August 27 during the annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Sunrise Beach, Mo. The attempt over a one-kilometer course will be conducted by the American Powerboat Association (APBA), the U.S. governing body for power boat racing as authorized by the UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique), the world governing body for all power boating activities.

Vision Marine Technologies raised a few eyebrows when a pair of modified Vision Marine E-Motion outboards powered a 32-foot Hellkats Powerboats catamaran piloted by pro racer Shaun Torrente to a speed of 109 mph during the 2022 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, a popular unsanctioned speed-run event. It was apparently the first time a boat powered by electric motors exceeded 100 mph, and the run topped the official UIM record for an electric-powered boat by more than 10 mph. At the 2023 Shootout, Vision Marine will sponsor the electric boat categories, for the first time split into mono- and multi-hull divisions.

In a phone interview on August 14, 2023, Alexandre Mongeon, CEO of Montreal, Canada-based Vision Marine, told Boating Magazine that his team and Torrente were busy testing some new boat and motor ideas, which it may bring to the Shootout. If those modifications don’t pan out, the team will run the same boat/motor package it used in 2022, powered by two Vision E-Motion electric powertrains and Octillion Power Systems batteries. Mongeon said the speed run motors have the same E-Motion electric architecture and technology as the 180-hp Vision E-Motion 180E motors that power the Four Winns H2-E consumer boat (Look for our review of this boat in October 2023!), but are modified to produce much more power.

Vision Marine Technologies 180e outboards
Vision Marine Technologies 180e outboards. The two motors used in the record attempt will be modified from the ones available for retail sale. Courtesy Vision Marine Technologies

“Vision wants to stay on the cutting edge of this technology,” said Mongeon. “Our goal is to attain speeds comparable to those set by Mercury Racing outboards on the same type of boat. We may not do that this year, but I expect to reach that goal soon.”

The Shootout speed runs are conducted over a three-quarter mile long course. Boats are allowed to enter the speed run course at a speed no greater than 40 mph, and the speed is measured by radar guns at the end of the course. The boat’s peak speed is recorded – American Ethanol, a 51-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran piloted by John Cosker and Tony Battiato has been Top Gun at the event for seven straight years, hitting 207 mph in 2022. While the Shootout is more than a “run what ya brung” radar run, it is an unsanctioned event, and there are classes for every type of boat, including pontoons and personal watercraft.

Alexandre Mongeon at the helm
Alexandre Mongeon, CEO and Director, Vision Marine Technologies. Courtesy Vision Marine Technologies

To set a world record in the United States requires a speed run sanctioned by UIM/APBA. Rich Luhrs, APBA Offshore Category Chairperson, will be leading the team running the kilo trials at Lake of the Ozarks.

“A UIM record speed is determined as an average speed over a measured distance of one kilometer,” explained Luhrs. “The boat can have a run of up to about one mile long to get up to speed before entering the measured kilo. We will use high-speed video cameras with a time code to record the moment the boat enters and completes the kilo. The cameras are synchronized and will record the time to cover that distance down to 1/100th second.”

Using this method, the boat’s average speed over the kilo is calculated, rather than its peak speed. To set a record the boat must make two passes through the course in opposite directions, with not more than 15 minutes between passes. The UIM/APBA rules for electric craft speed runs state that Recharging or replacement of batteries between initial and return runs while attempting a record is not permitted.

“Any record the Vision boat sets at Lake of the Ozarks will be for a multi-engine craft,” explained Luhrs, “and since there is no current record in that category, they could run 30 mph and set one. But I expect they will at least achieve the speed they set last year, with the potential to go much faster.”

The UIM record for absolute top speed by an electric-powered boat is 98.81 mph, set in 2008 by Mike Bontoft in a tiny three-point hydro outboard on Devil’s Lake in Lincoln City, Ore. At the time UIM rules limited voltage to 144 volts nominal and required a brushed DC motor. The record is recorded in the Circuit Electric 144V Hydroplane class. In 2018, the Jaguar Vector racing team claimed a highly publicized UIM record of 88.61 mph, which is posted as the Circuit Outright Electric Record, with Peter Dredge driving. Both of those records now look to be on shaky ground, as electric power technology advances at a blistering pace.