MIAMI – Just as he promised at the 2010 Fort Lauderdale boat show, Capt. Bernardo J. Herzer’s Los Angeles-based Lehr Inc. has debuted two propane-powered outboards – 5-hp and 2.5-hp models – at the Miami International Boat Show.
“I’m an inventor,” Herzer said. “I developed this technology in a number of industries (lawnmowers, weed trimmers, leaf blowers, motor scooters), but my passion is to bring it to boats.”
Formerly the captain of an oceanographic vessel, Herzer said he saw firsthand the destruction technology has wreaked on the oceans, in particular the use of factory ships in fishing, so he decided to do something.
He said propane engines are as much as 50 times cleaner than gasoline engines. Propane is half the price of gasoline and doesn’t gum up carburetors. Propane-powered outboards do not require winterization. The fuel is easy to store, and boaters can use lantern or BBQ propane canisters to fuel the boat.
Herzer said the 5-hp outboard will run for 10 hours at full throttle on five gallons of propane; the 2.5-hp outboard will run for 20 hours on the same amount of fuel.
He also said his outboards meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 emission standards for small motors.
The suggested retail price of the 2.5-hp model is $1,199; the price of the 5-hp engine is $1,919. West Marine and Donovan Marine are carrying the Lehrs.
“In Venice, Italy, they’ve converted all their gondolas to propane,” Herzer said.
— Jim Flannery