First look at New Volvo Forward Drive
Its certainly an interesting new idea. For years the industry has known that pulling through the water is more efficient than pushing. The idea of this configuration should assist the amount of water that the boat needs to use as ballast for creating a wake for wake boarding and should be way more effective in the ability to trim a hull. As the drive trim(up and down) should have more effect on the boat, as the props are more forward under the transom. Fwd Drive should also eliminate the cavitation problems with the conventional drives we are using now. Due to the fact that the props are uninhibited of the gear case.
I also know how many drives you see that have damaged props. You will have to treat this configuration more as an inboard than an inboard/out board there will be no sneaking up to the beach. There are a couple of more concerns that stand out immediately:
1- Volvo shows the drive operating in a really trimmed up position to create a nice wake boarding wave, this creates one hell of an angle on the universal joints (part of the drive shaft). Volvo must have really built these parts up, I wonder what the expected life of these components are if you use the drive in this trim position most of the time.
2- Volvo does not show a picture of a boat on a trailer with this drive, this is a lot of expensive gear pointed straight at the ground while on a trailer. You would want to be sure of how deep the boat ramp your using is, and you would not to drop off the end of a short ramp.
3- The steering must be way more reactive and the turning radius much sharper ,this may catch you by surprise at full speed the first few times.
4- I am wondering if they slowed down the trim speed ( trim speed is the speed that the drive moves up and down) similar to a race boat were the trim speed is very slow to make the trim more controllable
5- Can you back down hard with the drive in the high trim position, because if you can you will pull the back of the boat right down and with some boats could wash over the platform and through the door. This may also be alarming.
It would seem to be another advancement that will require some new boat performance parameter and some driver education, I have been saying in all my posts Power Boats are going through the fastest most technical advancements ever. Forward Drive maybe a fantastic configuration time will tell, What really concerns me is the how all of these new advances will affect the costs of boat ownership, these new components do not come cheap. Not at the time of purchase, repair or maintenance. You will require specialty tools and equipment to work on this new technology, This will affect your choice of service providers in 10 years or so.