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Posted on Feb 16, 2012 in Pacific Currents, Miami Boat Show
Propane Power
by Jim Hendricks

Lehr's new 2.5 and 5 hp outboards use the same fuel as your BBQ - no, not charcoal, but propane. You can even hook up a Lehr outboard to the same propane tank as your BBQ, or you can pop in a 16.4-ounce cylinder, the same kind used for a Coleman lantern.

I had the exclusive opportunity to run these four-stroke outboards, which debuted this week at the 2012 Miami International Boat Show. I found both engines easy to start - one pull and they were running without the need to prime or choke the engine. Driving solo, I got a top speed of 9 mph with the 5 hp model on 12-foot aluminum boat.

The 5 hp model has neutral, forward and reverse gears, and carries an MSRP of $1,919,99 for the 49.6-pound 15-inch version; $1,955.99 for the 52.8-pound 20-inch version. The 2.5 (available in a 37.9-pound 15-inch model only) has just neutral and forward (spin the outboard around to back up) and an MSRP of $1,199.99. All of the models carry three-year limited warranties.

While you may not get excited about these small, tiller-steer, pull-start outboards, the prospect of more powerful propane-powered outboards is intriguing. According to Lehr founder and CEO Bernardo Herzer, propane may well be the fuel of the future. The U.S. produces so much that it is a net exporter of this clean-burning, high-octane fuel.

To learn more about our test of the Lehr propane outboards, look for the April 2012 issue of Boating magazine. Or call 310-839-9009 or visit www.golehr.com.