Volvo Penta IPS Drives

Volvo Penta IPS Drives are Azimuth drives just like on modern ships. This photo shows under the waterline of the Queen Mary 2 and her 4 pod drives . Gone are the days of straight shafts coupled to gigantic engines. Developed originally for the large cruise liners, pod drive technology has now trickled down to the recreational market.

For the last 7 years or so Volvo Penta has gained popularity in the boating market with its IPS drives. Volvo brought out its IPS drives at the London Boat Show in 2005. The IPS drives proved popular as they gave increased performance and control over standard engines and outdrives.

The IPS Joystick was introduced a year later in 2006. With the Joystick a few simple hand movements are all that is required to safely place the boat at the dock or slip. It is easy to install, the joystick to any IPS drive, by simply adding the Joystick control with a cable and software installation. Anders Thorin, technical project manager at Volvo Penta says, the Joystick may look simple but this innovation is the result of extensive development work including exhaustive safety and reliability tests.

What is IPS

A complete, integrated system:

  • Marine diesel engines
  • Steerable drive units
  • Twin counter rotating, forward facing propellers
  • Integrated, through the drive water and exhausts
  • Electronic wheel-to-drives steering system
  • Electronic shift and throttle

Video of IPS

How does IPS work in practice?

Volvo Penta IPS ; Inboard Performance System is an inboard revolution. Compared to inboard shafts, Volvo Penta IPS gives up to:

  • 35% better efficiency
  • 20% higher top speed
  • 15% faster acceleration
  • 30% reduced fuel consumption
  • 50% lower perceived sound level

Plus car-like handling and maneuvering and the joystick option for easy docking.

These are the Volvo claims but reports from boats using IPS like the Africa cat 420 which reports low engine noise, low vibration. Regular shafts have lots of vibration due to alignment and the trust being pushed down the shaft which also causes noise. Also the underwater exhaust lowers soot levels dramatically and the same for fumes levels.

IPS Joystick Controls

Miami, FL – February 17, 2006: Volvo Pentas new IPS Joystick is designed to improve boating. The Joystick which is making its American debut at the Miami International Boat Show, allows drivers to easily maneuver their boats in all directions. In addition to increasing performance speed, Volvo officials say Volvo Penta’s Inboard Performance System (IPS) also decreases the level of noise by 50 percent

A quick look at this video will demonstrate the Joystick benefits.

If you pause the video as shown in the picture above, you can see the boat is going sideways into the slip and you can see the thrust wash from both drives opposing each other to provide the sideways movement.

Joystick Controls

New Joystick control features include; GPS anchor, docking station for IPS, Automatic Boat Trim assistant, and Power Trim assist

Dynamic Positioning System

Dynamic Positioning System

With the Dynamic Positioning System the boat’s position and heading can be held and kept within a very limited area. A convenient and useful support when, for example, preparing for docking or waiting for refueling

New IPS packages from Volvo

Volvo have IPS drives for engines 350 – 1200HP

To understand the Volvo Penta IPS designation. The Model numbers refer to what Volvo claim you need in conventional drive shaft for equal performance. Therefore IPS400 means this would replace a 400 HP engine but the actual HP of this engine is closer to 300HP.

The Original IPS packages were theIPS400, IPS500 and then came the IPS600, IPS350. The IPS version II starts with new packages, the IPS 750 with the 575hp version of the D9, and the IPS850 using new 6 cylinder 670hp D11. There is also the IPS500G which is a gasoline engine.

Cummins Zeus

While IPS makes huge gains in popularity Cummins CMD Zeus is a viable competitor.

Cummins Zeus has more conventional looking aft facing props set in azimuthing pods, but is otherwise very similar..