Because this is the system that will be attractive to most boaters, let’s start with the iDock system. One of the most attractive parts of iDock is the price; $5,999, which is significantly lower than competitive systems.
The joystick is the hub of the system. It’s contoured for a comfortable grip, and it’s spring-loaded so it returns to neutral when released. Take control of the joystick by simply pressing the on/off button. The iDock system includes an aircraft-grade gyroscope to compensate for weather and current. The steering system of the Evinrude E-TEC G2 is integrated into the midsection of the outboard, which creates clean rigging and less clutter in the transom area.
When using this system, the engines operate independently of each other. This is what allows the boat its full maneuverability around the dock, and what makes the system so attractive. It literally takes the pain out of the docking procedures for most boaters. For others, it just makes the procedure that much easier.
Putting the iDock to the test on a large pontoon boat, we immediately felt the system’s response and that’s largely because of its proportional response. Push the joystick farther and the engines use more power to move the boat. We had no problem spinning it or side-stepping up to a dock or into a slip.
With a center console we tested with the iDock system, the boat had a deep-V bottom, so the maneuvers required a little more power to move the boat. The iDock was calibrated for the boat and it executed all of our maneuvers with ease.
Another element of the intelligent piloting system is iSteer, which uses Evinrude’s Dynamic Power Steering system to make it easier to drive the boat. What makes it unique is that the power-steering unit is integrated into the motor’s swivel bracket, so there’s no external hardware. iSteer is also adjustable so it can be tailored to driver preference. If an operator wants more or less resistance on the wheel, he or she just makes the adjustment on the touchpad control. It’s the same if we want 12 turns instead of 5 from lock to lock… just adjust it in.
Another useful feature within the intelligent piloting system is the iTrim automatic trim system. Nail the throttles, and it automatically sets the trim for the best acceleration and then resets it for best cruise performance. This is great for new boaters but experienced captains may decide to turn it off and still trim the boat manually.
iControl is Evinrude’s digital throttle and shift and is part of the Intelligent Piloting System that’s built into every E-TEC G2 engine. Because the system is now digital, there are no manual cable runs from the controls to the engine. It’s just a wire run from the controls to servos on the engine itself. Move the throttles and a signal is sent immediately to the engine for a response.
Digital throttle gives instant throttle response and the ability to precisely control the engine RPM down to 50 rpm increments at the touch of a button, which is important for trolling and some water sports.
Digital shifting sends the electronic message to the gear case, and eliminates the familiar clunk, and it eliminates the grinding gears when shifting, and it won’t grind your gears either. The system can be used with multiple helm station locations, such as an upper and lower helm, and the twin levers can control and sync up to five outboards.
The iControl works for multiple stations. A convenient factor when we have a flying bridge, or even a fishing boat with a tower.
For people who like to keep an eye on their boat 24/7, the iLink app is available for Android and iPhones, and can be downloaded for free. It displays engine information, including rpm, fuel flow, trim position, and oil level and boat data including the fuel level, battery voltage, and water levels. iLink also gives you a remote control for iTrim, power-steering settings, and other intelligent piloting system features.
The intelligent piloting system, is not the only unique feature on the Evinrude E-TEC G2 line of outboards – there are plenty more. But it’s certainly a combination of systems that will bring the most features right to the hands of the operator. And when used the right way, it can enhance the on-water experience, and that’s what boating is all about.