First electric narrowboat show launching in England

A new boat show dedicated to electric narrowboats, ‘Electrika 2024’, is being held May 3-4 in Brinklow, England with the aim of being a meeting point where early adopters, manufacturers and potential new owners can share information and real-life experiences.

There are 16 exhibitors confirmed at the time of this writing. (The full Directory is below with links to the companies and more information). There will also be 9 show boats and a full schedule of talks, presentations and demonstrations for both the industry and the public.

Electric narrowboats gaining popularity

A narrowboat is a particular type of canal boat, built to fit the narrow locks of the United Kingdom canal system that was the heart of the nation’s commercial transportation network at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Railways eventually took over most of the traffic, but those locks still exist, and any boat that wants to go through one needs to be under 7 feet (2.13 m) wide. In the 1970s abandoned narrowboats started to be refitted and gained popularity as houseboats and even permanent residences. Today there are over 8,500 narrowboats registered as homes in the UK and more that service the rental market.

With the restricted width, it is common for narrowboats to make space by lengthening the hull, and there are narrowboats that hold as many as 12 berths. Most have traditional exteriors, but the interiors come in just about any style an owner can dream up.

Interior of ‘Shine’ from Mothership Marine

Diesel engines have traditionally been used in narrowboats for propulsion (and heating), but the organizers of Electrika note that “A near silent revolution has been taking place over the last few years, as a new generation of electrically propelled and hybrid narrowboats have been launched and cruised on UK waterways.”

Electric narrowboat information hard to find

They also note that finding good information about electrifying a narrowboat is difficult, so they are offering a wide range of activities across the two day event, including the talks and presentations.

Read about the electrification of the ‘Old Nick’ narrowboat

Friday May 3 will be the Business to Business day, with Saturday open to the public. There is no charge to attend but visitors will need to register online.

The trade day is aimed at any organization that is thinking of venturing into the expanding electric narrowboat market. That includes rental fleet operators, boat builders, narrowboat engineers, installers and suppliers of items like solar panels, inverters, chargers and other accessories.

Talks will be trade-focused and encourage collaboration and sharing of ideas to create better products and services. It’s also an opportunity for everyone in the industry to existing owners, builders and equipment manufacturers.

The public day will be for those who already own an electric boat, those who wish to have one built and those looking to convert an existing diesel boat to electric propulsion. Visitors will be able to meet the equipment manufacturers, talk to experienced electric boatbuilders and chat to existing owners to hear about their actual experiences of “Going Electric”.

A sample of subjects covered in the Saturday talks include:

  • What makes a good electric narrowboat?
  • Try before you buy – Hiring an electric narrowboat
  • Living on an electric narrowboat
  • Greening Up – going from diesel to electric

The nine Show Boats at Electrika will be moored alongside the exhibition and lecture marquees and have owners on hand to answer questions and share their experiences. Other boats on display include the Elektra, which was nominated in the 2023 Gussies Electric Boat Awards, the Quantum electric dayboat from Mothership Marine and the ‘Old Nick’, which Plugboats wrote about in 2020.

The Old Nick was built by a leading UK builder of electric narrowboats, Ortomarine, who have a passion for encouraging the industry towards going green. Electrika is their ‘brainchild’ and they are partnering with Aquavista, the UK’s largest inland marina operator, who are organizing and promoting the event.

Reserve tickets for Electrika  Aquavista   Ortomarine

Directory of Exhibitors at Electrika 2024

Click any tile for company information and links.

Photo of Aqua Narrowboats Aqua Narrowboats

Established in 2004 by Justin & Jane Hudson-Oldroyd, Aqua Narrowboats is celebrating 20 years in business. During that time, we’ve gained a reputation for building superb quality boats and providing great customer service and aftercare.

One of those boats is tThe Speedy Whippet II, a 68 ½ ft boat powered by a Hybrid Marine Parallel hybrid engine. The gas free boat has 775 amp hours of batteries enough to provide 8-12 hours of continuous cruising.

The Speedy Whippet II is the fourth hybrid boat we’ve built to date. The fifth will be Thistledown (our 58th boat build). This will be a serial Hybrid utilising a Fischer Panda generator and Ortomarine’s own electric motor, LiFePO4 batteries and their OrtoMate Control system to provide monitoring and automation on board.

Photo of Cafwin Cruises Cafwin Cruises

Cafwin Cruises Narrow Boat Holidays Ltd is an eco-friendly luxury boutique narrowboat holiday company, based out of Droitwich Spa Marina, covering the beautiful waterways of Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire. It owns Ollie Owl, the first electric hybrid narrowboat for hire in English waterways, built by industry leaders in the field, Ortomarine.


Photo of Electric Boat Association Electric Boat Association

About us :
Electric power has been proven to be globally more environmentally friendly than any other form of power generation. Boats require less power to move a mass from A to B than other forms of transport. There are many good reasons for this, i.e. low friction, low speed and no hills. Combining these features, electrically propelled boats on inland waterways are the most efficient form of transport available, both globally and at the point of use where there is no noise, no pollution and no fuss.

The Electric Boat Association (EBA) was founded in the UK in 1982 to promote the development of Electric Boating and to serve the needs of all who have an interest in electric boating, boat owners or business members.

The EBA promotes electric boating worldwide and is the voice for electric boat owner’s interests at discussions with the inland waterway authorities and government departments involved with legislation for inland waterways issues such as waterway access, charging points, slipway facilities, reduced licence fees and the Boat Safety Scheme etc.


Photo of Energy Solutions Energy Solutions

Marine is Energy Solutions’ longest established market area , since 1996 we have been working with leading OEM boatbuilders, superyacht owners, boat yards and individual sailing and motor yachts. As well as helping clients find power and control systems that fit their requirements we continually strive to introduce new, innovative products to our customers. We research, design and manufacture in house and provide new ways for our clients to attract customers and set themselves apart in terms of look, efficiency and technology. Working with products from the world’s leading manufacturers we are able to offer clients fully designed systems incorporating all elements form helm panels to tank senders.

Photo of Hydrogen Afloat Hydrogen Afloat

We make hydrogen fuel cell domestic power systems for boats, enabling those afloat to live off-grid without idling engines or running petrol generators in Winter. Our aim is to start the transition away from carbon-based fuels for the canals and rivers of the UK. We do domestic power now, since that is possible now with portable G20 cylinders. Join us on the canal journey to nett zero.

Photo of Inland Waterways International Inland Waterways International

IWI brings together people and organisations who support the conservation, use, development and proper management of inland waterways worldwide.

It aims to raise public awareness of the benefits of using waterways for a wide range of activities, from inland water transport to cruising, towpath walking and other recreational uses, as well as appreciating their architectural and landscape values as heritage.

It also promotes restoration, where appropriate, of waterways which have become derelict.

Its membership includes leading navigation authorities, as well as voluntary bodies, museums and commercial companies. Individual members include both users and experts in the various disciplines.

All have a keen interest in both the history and the modern significance of inland waterways for commercial carrying and recreational use. Today the membership covers 22 countries from around the world.

Dusseldorf:  Hall 13 / D73

Photo of Lightning Craft Lightning Craft

Lightning Craft offers high-performance self install electric inboard motors for boats.

We are an engineering company run by engineers. We have ideas we make them happen. So when it comes to our environment and the places we call home, let’s think carefully and act on what we know

Photo of Lynch Motors Lynch Motors +44 (0) 1404 892940

Established in 1990, we are innovators and leaders in the design and manufacturing of highly efficient and reliable electric motors suitable for marine, vehicle, robotic, industrial, hybrid and traction industry.

Photo of Mothership Mothership

Mothership Marine electric boat company

Enjoy the inland waterways

Solar Electric Boats For The Inland Waterways
Innovative Approach • Bespoke Designs
Stylish Interiors • Reclaimed Timber

We want you to feel the joy of motoring along in near silence and fully present to the natural world; birdsong, buzzing insects and the ripple of the water in the knowledge that you are not costing you or the earth anything.

People respond to nature and natural products. Go below into the cabin. Here the majority of timber used is reclaimed, often hundreds of years old.

That said, there is nothing old fashioned about our design. It’s fresh and every thought is given to the feeling of space, we make contemporary narrowboats.

A range of solar electric and hybrid boats designed for inland waterways.

Location: UK

Photo of Noputtputt Noputtputt

NoPuttPutt is an all-in-one solar electric propulsion system for narrowboats consisting of a brushless motor, lithium battery, inverter, solar panels, display and throttle, plus all the bits to make it work!

Photo of Onboard Energy Onboard Energy

Off-grid power specialises in electrical power energy solutions for marine, vehicle and industrial applications providing power products and energy solutions to homes, businesses and industires in remote locations.

Photo of Ortomarine Ortomarine

Ortomarine’s goal is to build environmentally friendly boats that both significantly reduce the vessel’s “carbon foot print” and create a quieter, cleaner and more natural boating experience. We want to give our customers, the “greenest” narrowboat that current technologies allow, without compromising on quality or cost.

Photo of Predator Batteries Predator Batteries

Founded in 2023, Predator Batteries are a new company to the UK. The founders Stuart James and Mark Baker have a combined experience of over 60 years within the battery industry.

Photo of Vetus Vetus +31(0)884 884 700

Peace and quiet on the water with only the sound of the waves. With the new E-LINE from VETUS you can enjoy nature at its best.  Think of the noise level of a sailing boat with the manoeuvrability of a motorboat.

The E-LINE from VETUS is compact, complete, highly efficient, plug & play and suitable for both new builds and re-powering. The E-LINE drive works with the V-CAN bus system and meets all current and future emission requirements.


Leave a comment

Axopar 25e Gussies Award Winner

Get all the latest electric boats and boating news delivered to your mailbox!

Sign up here for the Plugboats newsletter.


No, thanks.