Spending more than 38 years committed to one thing is not a small feat nowadays. Marriage. Three-bedroom house. Job. Electric engine market.
In the era of short-lived companies and even shorter-lived ideas, Ray Electric Outboards, Inc. has withstood an erratic market to not only survive, but prosper through 38 years. Best known for its electric outboards, this Cape Coral, FL company has recently expanded its operations to electric-powered pontoon boats. The expansion, and the recent resurgence of the quieter, more reliable engines, has paid off.
"We've seen a 100 percent increase in (engine) production," said Eugene Cope, Ray Electric's marketing director. "We anticipated an increase, but not that much."
Few people would be surprised by the jump in sales, considering the growing number of electric-powered only lakes and people wishing for a quieter, more relaxed mode of water transportation. According to Morton Ray, president and founder of Ray Electric, electric-only lakes account for 90 percent of sales and the amount of those lakes jumps every year. Electric-powered outboards are proven to be quieter and less immediately damaging to the environment. That accounts for new reservoirs popping up in population centers such as Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, in addition to countless other towns big and small across the country.
The remaining 10 percent of customers clearly have their reasons for going to companies such as Ray Electric, which has only 1 percent of its engines built since 1974 out of service.
"The rest just don't want to deal with the breakdown of gas (powered engines)," Cope said. "They don't like the noise and the smell. Families are buying electric-powered pontoons because they don't want their kids racing all over the lake.
If boat owners are retired, they're generally not interested in speed," he added. "They're interested in going out and cruising --- safely, economically and quietly."
Ray Electric outboards offer that.
The Ray Electric outboard, available in short and long-shaft models, has three main selling points - reliable, powerful and quiet. All three are commonly found in electric applications with the Ray Electric providing 195 pounds of thrust, easy installation and complete two-year warranty on parts and labor.
All that with an approximate $1 cost of overnight charge that gives the engine a maximum range of 70 miles at 6 miles per hour before needing to plug in again.
Then there's the option of buying a boat specifically for getting the most out of electric-powered engines - the Ray Electrocat. This fiberglass twin-pontoon boat is light (3,600 pounds) and spacious enough (26 x 8 feet) for a large group of people to kick back and enjoy what electric-powered boats are all about - clean, relaxed and quiet boating. For a base price tag of $29,995, customers will get a System 400, 48volt Ray Electric outboard system, 8-GC 6V batteries, a 48 Volt battery charger, a fully equipped helm, an adjustable captain's chair, an 9' bimini top, 27-inch rails with, four gates, AM/FM/CD player and running and anchor lights as well as horn.
For an additional cost, a solar canopy, swimming ladder and a full compliment of furniture is available, as well as a trailer.
All this from a company Morton Ray first began building in his basement 35 years ago.
It's probably going to keep getting bigger.
"This is Mort's first year in having somebody market the product," Cope said. "and of course, in 35 years of being out there, the market has already been tremendous for us, internationally as well as locally."
Having 58 national and six international dealers will help, but not as much as a 38-year commitment to the market.
For more information on Ray Electric Outboards, its products and/or its network of dealers, consult this website, or contact Ray directly at (800) 259-1637.
- Article from Pontoon and Deck Boat Magazine