Electric news from the Venice Boat Show

Kevin Desmond of Electrify Venice and VeniceAgenda 2028 (more about VA2028 at the bottom of this article) has given an update on the Venice Boat Show and the overall view is that, while there is a lot to be done, the canals of La Serenissima are starting to take the benefits of electric propulsion seriously – especially when weighed against the detriments of fossil fuel boats.

A few items:

Hybrid water taxi launch

The Venice Boat Show opened with Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro and Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, President of the Italian Senate,  overseeing the launch of the hybrid electric wooden cabin runabout below and declaring that in the future the only type of boat in Venice would be electric.

“Soon there will be real possibilities to convert the boats and then we will think about the regulations with the various categories. We can say that surely all the boats will become hybrids and in our Grand Canal they will go electric.”

The hybrid water taxi launch is a combined effort from electric motor leader Transfluid working with diesel motor manufacturer Bimotor and shipyard Cantiere Chia to figure out an easy install for existing taxis that doesn’t require hull boat layout modifications.

New hybrid waterbuses

Venice boat show featured these two electric bargesACTV is the transit authority of Venice and Alilaguna runs waterbuses through the city’s canals. Each of them displayed a hybrid-electric prototype able to handle the relentless demand the tourism industry exerts on a working boat.ACTV has decided to build an initial batch of 35 of these during the next two years to replace their noisy-smoky-diesel versions.

Stunning electric & hybrid water limousines

Electric water taxis and limousines were also on display: Ecoline’s Eco 800 and Eco 900 with motors by Huracan, and show visitors were given peak at the Thunder Limousine from classic mahogany boatbuilders Vizianello that has been designed by one of the world’s leading yacht designers, Nuvolari Lenard. (It’s the main picture at the top of this article)

 Venice Boat Show highlights Scandinavian innovation

Aside from the working boats, two Nordic companies were showing off their designs and taking visitors for noiseless rides through the canals. Visitors could sample X-Shore’s Eelex 6500 with its distinct silhouette and wooden surface detailing and the Q-30 from Q-Yachts, powered by Oceanvolt.


Italian RIB boat company Naumatec presented its E-Tender 460 with a solar panel on the stern, a Huracan motor and a hull specially developed by designer Federico Fiorentino to marry electric propulsion with a rigid inflatable boat.

The birth of the e-Regatta

The goal of VeniceAgenda2028 is to have all of Venice’s water traffic – including the hundreds of privately owned boats – non-fossil fuel by 2028.

One of the challenges is always to convince the sceptics that electric motors are fully up to the task, so as a way to promote e-propulsion VA2028 in association with Inland Waterways International and Assonautica Venezia developed their plan and signed an agreement for a “Zero Emission Lakeside Festival” in June 2020.

This new sport will have a four-discipline contest/demonstration elements and the Venice version will also include “Noi Siamo Electriche!”, a much-to-be publicized electric boat procession along the city’s Grand Canal. The racing structure and official presentation of this will take place in October 2019.

Other interested parties expressed an interest in holding e-Regattas on Lake Annecy (Fr), Lake Como, Lake Bracciano and Brindisi (Italy) and Lake Beloton (Hungary).

Support the electrification of Venice’s canals

We would be remiss if we didn’t also mention in this exciting electric news from one of the world’s seminal marine communities that you can help bring about the change to electric boats in La Serenissima. That’s the goal of VeniceAgenda2028

Sign your name to the petition that will be presented to both the Mayor of Venice and the Patriarch of Venice. It only takes a minute to go on record in support of this necessary initiative.


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