Renault ‘2nd life batteries’ power Seine electric boat

Batteries taken from Renault electric vehicles will take on a second life powering  the Black Swan, a River Seine electric boat that can hold up to 8 passengers. The boat will be used for private and business cruises.

The sleek Black Swan hull was designed and built by famed Italian speedboat yard Tullio Abbate and will be propelled by underwater pod electric motors instead of inboards or outboards. Pods were chosen to give the craft a sleeker profile.

The motors will be connected to two battery arrays that have a nominal power output of 10kW – 20kW at maximum power. The lithium batteries taken from the Renault cars and reconditioned and repurposed for the Black Swan weigh in at a total of 278kg (600 lbs). The Seine has a speed limit, which reduces draw on the batteries and means passengers can enjoy a 2 hour cruise before recharging. The charging time is anticipated to be 2-3 hours.

Alain Thebault and Anders Bringdal smile as they ride their hydrofoiling water taxi in Paris

Seine electric boats could be the way of the future

Renault is working with Green-Vision of France and the Seine Alliance, which operates boats on the river and has committed to a fully electric fleet by 2024.

The Seine could look very different by then! The electric hydrofoil SeaBubbles just completed a week of trial runs as a commuter service in the heart of Paris and could be operating in early 2020 if the results are approved by the city’s council. Just outside the city a test is being run on a solar powered ferry service. Results are due to be looked at in a few weeks.

It is not only Paris that is looking at electrifying boat traffic. The canals of Amsterdam are on a path to have only electric boat traffic by 2025 and Venice also introduced regulations to investigate the possibilities of going all electric.

Green-Vision has 10 years of experience in the design of bespoke lithium-ion battery systems and electric propulsion. and was the engine supplier for the association Les Triplettes de Bonneville, which set the world speed record for electric motorbikes in 2012.

Electric pods installed in Black Swan for early 2020

Renault, of course, is one of the world’s leading auto manufacturers and Renault was the first car company to become involved in the Formula E electric car racing series. They exited the series in 2018 but still participate in electric motorsports through an alliance with Nissan.

Gilles Normand, Senior Vice President of the company’s Electric Vehicle Group said “This approach has shown that, used in a second life as energy storage units, the batteries from our electric vehicles represent an essential lever for the acceleration of the energy transition.”

In the marine world, the Renault Group signed a 3 year partnership with NEOLINE, which is building a wind powered ship that will take 1,000 tractors from France to the USA.

Tullio Abatte is one of the most storied speedboat designers in history with clients that have included Schumacher, Piquet, Gilles Villeneuve, Maradona, Jacky Ickx, Björn Borg, Stefano Casiraghi and the Princess Caroline of Monaco, Sylvester Stallone and Madonna.

The electric pods and propulsion system have not yet been fitted into the Abate hull. That is slated to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

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