Volvo Penta’s latest propulsion system, the Forward Drive (FWD), has been recognized by members of the boating press as the industry’s top new innovation of 2015. The company was awarded the Best of Boats Special Award last night in a ceremony on November 26 at the Berlin Boat Show.
A revolution in water sports, the FWD’s patented design — forward-facing dual counter-rotating props and adjustable-trim drive — pulls the boat through the water rather than pushing, with an undisturbed water flow to the propellers. The clean and efficient propulsion system delivers superior responsiveness, acceleration, fuel economy and versatility, and is ideal for activities that take place behind the boat, including swimming, wakeboarding and wakesurfing. With the FWD, drivers are able to customize the wake for different watersport ability levels and feel the difference in tighter high-speed turns, as well as more responsive slow-speed maneuvering and docking.
For this contribution to the world of boating, Volvo Penta received the Best of Boats Special Award — a new category created to honor single products, technologies and ideas. Now in their second year, the Best of Boats awards are designed to recognize the top boats in five categories; they are chosen by 15 journalists from 14 European countries, all of whom have tested the boats themselves. As the winner of the Best of Boats Special Award, the FWD was not chosen competitively from a longlist of finalists. Instead, the jury saw the FWD as an innovation clearly in need of recognition.
“We should not forget those people who create the crucial technologies and equipment that give boat builders the ability to implement their vision,” says Anton Cherkasov, editor-in-chief of Motor Boat & Yachting Russian Edition and a member of the Best of Boats jury. “That’s why we have added one more award this year for a really special product.”
Volvo Penta FWD was chosen for the award because of its capacity to make life easier for manufacturers and consumers. “The Volvo Penta Forward Drive has the intrinsic potential to refine the behavior of almost any small planing boat. Initially targeted for a niche market, this product can significantly change the rules of the whole leisure boat industry,” Cherkasov said.
“We at Volvo Penta are very proud to be recognized for the FWD,” says Fredrik Celander, Volvo Penta marine leisure product management. “Innovation is in our DNA, and the FWD is a revolutionary new product that will help us strengthen our position in the marine industry. The Best of Boats Special Award inspires us to continue the work of developing integrated products that enhance the user experience and make boating easy and accessible for all.”
Fredrik Celander (center left) and Bernhard Fründt (center right) accept the Best of Boats Special Award on behalf of Volvo Penta at the Berlin Boat Show.