German electric outboard motor pioneer, Torqeedo, has provided details of two public transportation projects that are successfully using its new Deep Blue motors.

Watertaxi Rotterdam has expanded its fleet with a 16th boat: The first European water taxi with an electric drive is equipped with Deep Blue Hybrid, powered by Torqeedo.

This first commercial application of the award-winning Deep Blue Hybrid combines Torqeedo's powerful Deep Blue drives with a fully integrated, yet modular and scalable, energy management system. The combination of a Deep Blue 80 motor and two generators, delivering 20 kW each, was adapted by Torqeedo to the needs of Watertaxi Rotterdam. The boat holds 12 people, runs at a top speed of 25 km/h and will operate on the River Meuse in the centre of the city.

The system is very quiet and, according to Torqeedo, up to 70% more fuel-efficient than the other boats, minimizing CO2 and NOx emissions. The Deep Blue Hybrid system was recently awarded a 2016 Pittman Innovation Award, which recognizes outstanding innovation in new products.

“We are delighted that Watertaxi Rotterdam decided to use our award-winning Deep Blue Hybrid System to power their famous yellow water taxis“, comments Christian Pho Duc, Senior Vice President of Sales, for Torqeedo. “The cooperation was exceptional from the start, and the newly designed boat maximizes the high efficiency of the hybrid propulsion system."

Further afield, Canada’s largest electric passenger boat is also now powered by Torqeedo’s Deep Blue system.

The largest 100% electric passenger boat in Canada, the Queen Elizabeth Dr. , was officially launched at the beginning of this summer’s cruise season in the French-Canadian capital Ottawa. Powered by a Torqeedo Deep Blue 80 horsepower electric outboard at each end, the 75-foot double-ender provides an environmentally friendly tour of Ottawa’s beautiful Rideau Canal.

The 100-passenger tour boat is the first of two planned vessels that will offer guided tours and host events on the canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The second, named Colonel By, will enter service in the spring of 2017.

Robert Taillefer, the owner of Queen Elizabeth Dr. and operator of Ottawa Boat Cruises, says: “Torqeedo’s high-power Deep Blue system was the obvious choice to propel Canada’s largest electric passenger vessel because of its comprehensive safety systems.” The boat has two Deep Blue systems installed but only one is in use at a time. “The canal is quite narrow and the boat is long; instead of turning around we use the second system”, Taillefer explains.

Ottawa’s Riverkeeper, Meredith Brown, is pleased to see a new electric powered tour boat in the city. “Our organization is always happy to see new opportunities for people to connect with the river in a sustainable way” says Brown, “and there is nothing like a quiet electric motor to help everyone enjoy the natural sounds of the river.”

Torqeedo says that commercial and public entities hoping to develop eco-friendly electric tour boats and water taxis are becoming common, and several other projects for public transportation are currently in late-stage development.

By Jake Frith