The automobile industry has experienced considerable change when it comes to powertrain and cabin technology features in the past decade, but what about boats? They're also getting some cutting-edge upgrades made possible by the same technologies that are improving the power and performance of smartphones, and Sea Ray debuted a new top-end outboard boat at CES 2020 that puts a lot of that on display in one big, beautiful package.
The Sea Ray SLX-R 400e has one feature in particular that's brand new and could easily trickle down to other pleasure craft, should it catch on with boaters: The Fathom e-Power system developed by partner Brunswick, which helped Sea Ray put together the innovative SLX-R 400e. This is an electrified part of the seacraft's powertrain, featuring a lithium-ion battery pack with a high enough storage capacity that it can handle powering all the accessory systems on board the boat, including its entertainment features.
The SLX-R 400e's main engines are still powered by traditional fuel -- and there are three 450 hp V8 Mercury outboard engines to drive the 40-foot boat. But the Fathom e-Power system means that when you're just sitting on the water entertaining up to 21 of your closest friends, you're not burning fuel, making it "more eco-friendly" and providing more power longer than traditional alternators.
In addition to the e-Power system, the Sea Ray SLX-R 400e also features joystick piloting, giving you more precise control over orientation of the outboards while being user-friendly for people who don't necessarily have a lot of experience piloting boats.
The cockpit is equally futuristic, with multiple 16-inch displays providing a comprehensive overview of the boat's status and systems. The boat-wide audio system even boasts AirPlay support for streaming from Apple devices.
This isn't just a concept: Sea Ray is actually going to be selling this to consumers, with availability set for sometime later this year.