Electric Liferaft Passes Extreme Weather Tests

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A novel partnership between Torqeedo, part of the DEUTZ group working with marine electric mobility, and VIKING, a manufacturer and service provider in offshore safety, has popped up. It’s an innovative new evacuation system with an electric inflatable liferaft.

In a press release, we learn that Torqeedo (which has also built an electric speedboat using BMW i3 batteries) has developed a specialized high-thrust electric propulsion system for VIKING’s new liferaft, which is called LifeCraft. The new vehicle is designed to speed up safe evacuation of hundreds of passengers from ships at sea. The craft can be maneuvered to a safe standoff distance from the ship using the electric motors installed at each corner.

Heavy weather sea trials were conducted last October, and the system was deployed and operated dependably under the most extreme wind and sea conditions. The tests took place in the North Sea with wave height peaks up to 10 meters, 50% above requirements.

The propulsion system from Torqeedo proved very efficient. “The LifeCraft exhibited superior maneuverability, sailing away from the ship much faster than required,” said Niels Fraende, VIKING’s vice president of sales for Cruise & LifeCraft.

It’s especially worth noting that this system needs nothing more in its dormant configuration than to be plugged into an electric outlet to have the onboard redundant battery packs ready to go. No hassle with liquid fuels and complex engines that need routine maintenance even when not used.

I love the press-this-green-button part in the video, and the rest of the system unfolding is just magic. Just watch:

“VIKING’s new LifeCraft is truly innovative and offers compelling benefits to passenger ship operators. It has been a pleasure to participate in its development,” said Dr. Christoph Ballin, co-founder and CEO of Torqeedo.

VIKING received official approval for the LifeCraft survival craft on March 8 from the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) as a “Novel Life-Saving Appliance,” meeting the requirements for replacing conventional lifeboats on passenger ships.

Not a situation you would ever want to be in, but tech like this, now ready to deploy, just made travel and work at sea a lot safer.

Images from Torqeedo.com

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Jesper Berggreen

Jesper had his perspective on the world expanded vastly after having attended primary school in rural Africa in the early 1980s. And while educated a computer programmer and laboratory technician, working with computers and lab-robots at the institute of forensic medicine in Aarhus, Denmark, he never forgets what life is like having nothing. Thus it became obvious for him that technological advancement is necessary for the prosperity of all humankind, sharing this one vessel we call planet earth. However, technology has to be smart, clean, sustainable, widely accessible, and democratic in order to change the world for the better. Writing about clean energy, electric transportation, energy poverty, and related issues, he gets the message through to anyone who wants to know better. Jesper is founder of Lifelike.dk and a long-term investor in Tesla, Ørsted, and Vestas.

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