A 150kW electric boat supercharger at the Salone Nautica (Venice Boat Show May 29 to Jun 6) is opening eyes about the future of electric boating. Its powerful technical capabilities are housed in an elegant shell design by the BorromeodeSilva studio of Milan, using CIRCAL recycled aluminium from Norsk Hydro.
Aqua Superpower already has a network of five rapid chargers along the French Riviera and Northern Italy with plans for twenty more to be installed by the end of the summer. Each station is engineered for marine environments, built to IP65 standards and provides AC and DC outlets. The first charger in the network – launched under the brand name of Aqua’s sister company Vita – debuted at the Yacht Club de Monaco in 2019.
The chargers are accessed through a dedicated Aqua smartphone app that provides a map of the network, navigational aids and displays charger options. The chargers can also be accessed with a secure RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) card. Aqua will own, operate and maintain the network using their own cloud-based back-office system.
Alex Bamberg, CEO of Aqua superPower, said “In order for the marine industry to move away from hugely polluting fossil fuels to greener electricity, a new infrastructure has to be provided to support the transition.”
Electric boat superchargers leading the infrastructure build-out
As Plugboats has noted before, the future of electric boats will require the same kind of charging infrastructure that is now in place in many countries for electric cars. Aqua is ‘leading the charge’ on the Mediterranean, while in Norway a combination of hardware manufacturers, municipalities and utility companies has been responsible for introducing a network of e-boat chargers that includes a 150kW station in the port of Florø.
The flagship Florø installation is directed more towards speeding the electrification of the fleets of workboats that service offshore aquaculture in the country. Electric outboard and inboard manufacturer Evoy is headquartered in Florø and is having good uptake from the nordic fishing industry on its high powered 150kW – 600kW motors. The rapid chargers make the decision to electrify easier for purchasers. Plug, a subsidiary of renewables utility BKK that has experience in operating onshore power plants for ships, will oversee the stations.
In the US the focus for chargers installed on Lake Tahoe is at the opposite end of the spectrum – recreation! Electric boat tow boat pioneer Ingenity worked with Homewood Marina in Tahoe to install an adapted EV charger – an ‘EB charger’. Throughout the summer guests can sign up for the Ingenity Experience and get out on the lake behind the Super Air Nautique GS22E to discover how all-electric boats are ideally suited to watersports.
Back in Venice, ecotechnology startup e-concept has launched a set of electric boat chargers for local boats on the canals that are designed to match the look of the city’s traditional wooden mooring poles. Again, these are serving a different market from offshore boats that will be using Aqua Superpower’s units, but it shows that lots of electric boat charging infrastructure is being built everywhere.
The Aqua electric boat superchargers are a key exhibit in the electric section of this year’s Salone Nautica at the Venice Arsenale, and electric boats and boating are sure to get even more attention when the first international e-Regatta begins on June 2.