Uber Boat building UK’s 1st hybrid high-speed passenger ferry

The UK-based Uber Boat by Thames Clipper, a partnership between river bus service Thames Clipper and transport company Uber, is building the country’s first hybrid high-speed passenger ferries.

Uber Boats
Image: Uber Boats by Thames Clipper

The two new vessels, that are being built at Wight Shipyard on the Isle of Wight, are set to launch in autumn 2022 and spring 2023.

The ferries will feature a hybrid design that allows them to operate solely on battery power while transporting commuters and sightseers and recharge while using bio fueled power outside of central London.

As described, the technology does not depend on shore-based charging as the new boats will use excess power from the bio fueled engines to recharge their batteries.

According to Uber Boat, these will be the company’s quietest vessels in addition to being the city’s most eco-friendly passenger boats.

At the same time, the company expects the vessels to push boundaries in catamaran design to deliver a future-friendly option that can be made even greener as and when technology allows.

Sean Collins, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers’ co-founder and CEO, said: “This development in technology has enabled us to take the first major steps to meet our future environmental vision.

“As a business, we are continuing to embrace the emerging technological advances that will see us continue to develop our fleet and infrastructure, thereby supporting a sustainable future in our industry”.

Furthermore, the company is committed to achieving net-zero with all new builds by 2025 and for its wider fleet, infrastructure and environmental footprint by 2040.

Collins continued: “We’re looking ahead with this hybrid design, ensuring easy conversion to green hydrogen or another renewable energy source – something we’re also focusing heavily on with the new projects we’re undertaking thanks to recent DfT funding. It is the next step in our strategy to net-zero and, ultimately, tailpipe zero”.

Meanwhile, work is underway at the company on three green marine feasibility projects funded by the Department for Transport (DfT). The outcomes of the project are due in spring 2022 and should further help inform the business on their route to net zero.

It’s also supported by findings from the EU Horizon 2020 TrAM project to develop fully electric, zero-emission, high-speed passenger ferries, a project in which Uber Boat by Thames is involved and has influenced the specification of the new vessels for London.

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