The first electric RIB workboat

An electric RIB workboat is a great advance in e-boats as Rigid Inflatable-hull Boats (RIBs) are the top choice for many marinas and ports to tackle the every day duties of transporting goods and supplies and people and towing other boats and whatever else needs to be done on a busy day.

Now an electric solution is available – the NaviWatt ZenPro580 – unveiled last September and awarded 2nd place in the Boat of the Year category by France’s Electric Boat Association. The company claims the NavPro580 is the first electric RIB designed specifically as a work boat.

NaviWatt has 10 years of e-boat experience

NaviWatt, of France, has been in the electric boat business for the past 10 years, manufacturing two other models – the Cata 6 work boat and Cata 12 transport boat. Both are catamaran style, as the name suggests.

They also take on custom projects – you can see them here – and have participated in the creation of designs of everything form houseboats to the Heliodive 1200 to concept boats for transatlantic solar races.

three pictures - a houseboat, futuristic solar sailing yacht and large diving barge

As for the ZenPro, it is 5.8 metres long (19’), has an aluminum shell with near-indestructible Hypalon rubber tubes, can carry 8 passengers and has a maximum speed of 28 knots.

It is driven by the Torqeedo Deep Blue 80hp motor with a BMW i3 battery that provides 2 hours of range at 13 kn, 13 hours at 3 knots. Currently, the ZenPro can be charged in 10 hours on a domestic plug or pontoon plug (230V 16A), and there is a mobile app to monitor battery charge.

Electric RIB workboat makes a lot of sense

Applications like this will likely start to play the same role that electric buses and delivery trucks are playing in the electric vehicle area. The extra cost of an electric motor pays for itself off quickly when it is used every day with no charge for gasoline or diesel. (see our article about the savings on the solar ferry Aditya). The next to zero maintenance also leaves money in the owner’s pocket.

Quiet, efficient and emissions free – the NaviWatt brings a lot of good things to a marina or port. France’s huge La Ciotat shipyard, which has a history dating back to the 15th century, agrees. It was the first to order the ZenPro as part of its efforts to clean and maintain the marine environment of the Mediterranean.

And, of course, there’s nothing that says you can’t use the ZenPro580 as a good old recreational sport boat!

The video below shows off the ZenPro580’s capabilities. Translated, the subtitles say: Semi rigid electric, mobile app, professional ship (work boat), harbour service, towing system, charge at the dock and fast intervention.

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