Volvo Penta IPS: still revolutionary 10 years on

A decade ago, one system single-handedly changed the face of leisure and commercial boating. The game-changer? Volvo Penta IPS.

In January 2005 more than 150,000 people visited the London Boat Show expecting to find the usual selection of boats, equipment and accessories. What they discovered instead was history in the making, when the event introduced Volvo Penta IPS (Inboard Performance System) to the world’s marine industry.

The most notable feature of Volvo Penta IPS is the forward-facing propellers, which are mounted at the forward end of the propulsion unit. The propellers are counter-rotating, and pull the boat rather than push it – unlike conventional propellers. The propeller wash is parallel with the bottom of the boat, so that all the power developed drives the boat forward.

An overnight sensation, the system was showered with industry awards and soon more than 100 boat models were installed with Volvo Penta IPS. Over the years, the system has become even more popular with the addition of joystick steering and docking in 2006, followed by bigger pods and the Dynamic Positioning System (DPS). By 2009, 10,000 units were in use, and today, more than 16,000 units have been sold, featuring in around 1100 boat models worldwide.

Commercially adaptable
During testing, the high-efficiency system proved to be 20% faster than a traditional shaft installation, with 30% lower fuel consumption, 15% greater acceleration and 50% lower noise and vibration levels. The high-efficiency system benefits customers with its low fuel consumption, low noise and vibration, comfortable ride, high speeds and excellent maneuverability.

Initially designed as a marine leisure product, Volvo Penta IPS instantly caught the eye of the marine commercial industry. Faced with demanding working environments, Volvo Penta IPS outperformed standard inboard shafts, offering operators a high-performing system in every respect.

The characteristics that made Volvo Penta a success in the leisure boating world have translated well into the marine commercial industry, and by the end of 2005, the first commercial pod was released. Wind farm vessels, coast guard boats, pilot boats and passenger transport have all installed the system, to good effect.

A decade of experience
Today the system comes in a range of 10 models, from IPS350 to IPS1200, matched to three different pod sizes and available for twin, triple or quadruple installations. Volvo Penta IPS is particularly suited to in sport cruisers, performance yachts and sportfishing boats from 30 to 100 feet, as well as commercial boats up to 30 meters. Far from being just an engine, Volvo Penta IPS is a complete package that includes steering wheel, joystick, controls, instrumentation, propulsion unit and forward-facing propellers.

Alongside joystick docking and driving, Volvo Penta IPS is now available with a host of other Electronic Vessel Control (EVC) options, including autopilot, cruise control and DPS. In addition, Volvo Penta’s unique Glass Cockpit system presents a clean, easy-to-use dashboard, offering an enhanced overview and greater control of both the engine and navigation.

Thanks to a team of marine specialists, engineers and naval architects, Volvo Penta IPS is going from strength to strength. When the Inboard Performance System was first launched in 2005, no one could have predicted how – by turning the propellers around – the world of boating would change forever. Ten years later, Volvo Penta IPS is still innovating, and growing its strong position in both the leisure and commercial markets.

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Jennifer Humphrey
Global Communication Manager
+46 31 323305
Email: jennifer [dot] humphrey [at] volvo [dot] com