The Seine Alliance, a river tourism developer in Paris, has partnered with Renault to utilize used EV batteries to power its electric tour boats. There are several reasons to use electric boats rather than gas- or diesel-powered ones. They have zero direct emissions so there are no exhaust fumes. They’re quieter and therefore more comfortable, and electricity typically costs less than fossil fuels. In this case, the boats are using repurposed EV batteries, so they are recycling them instead of having to buy new ones.
The Seine Alliance is based out of the Paris Yacht Club at Port de Grenelle, Paris. Didier Spade is the founder and CEO; he started operating on the Seine almost 30 years ago. Mr. Spade answered some questions about the electric tour boats and batteries for CleanTechnica.
How do you source the used EV Renault batteries?
We have an agreement directly with RENAULT; the batteries come from Kangoo and Fluence.
Do your passengers notice how much quieter the electric motors are and that they produce no fumes?
The BLACK SWAN has been showcased on its trailer; the launching will be in spring so nobody has tested it yet. But a few years back, we launched another electric boat (the red one) with lead-acid batteries. Passengers enjoyed very much visiting Paris without noise and fumes, indeed.
How many batteries does your electric vessel use and what is their capacity?
We have 30 KW/h battery capacity on board (15 KW/h for each of the two electric pods).
What size are the electric motors and how long can you cruise before you need to recharge the batteries?
Two E-Tech Polish electric motors are 10 KW each. Batteries allow 3 hours cruising at a speed of 5 knots (the legal speed limit is 7 knots). The charger can charge in 4-5 hours which is enough as most of our cruises are at lunch time or dinner time.
How many new electric boats will you add to your fleet and when will you do that?
We are targeting 4 small boats (length between 7 and 12m) in the two coming years. We also have a bigger electric boat that should arrive before the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 (see: www.yess.paris). Note: YESS is an acronym meaning Yacht Electrique Sur Seine.
Is your electric tour boat the only one among the tour operators on the Seine or are there others?
There is another one but it is smaller; but we stand alone in using second-life batteries.
How much more enjoyable is it to cruise the Seine in a very quiet or nearly silent electric boat with no fumes than a diesel- or gas-powered vessel?
It’s really great. We also make cruises in a Monte Carlo 37 with diesel engines which is part of our fleet; and even if the engine room is quite well insulated, the difference is huge; and not only in terms of noise and fumes — it’s really a different atmosphere.
How many tours do you conduct in a day?
The BLACK SWAN should be operated mostly between April and October, and we are expecting one or two cruises per sunny day (this kind of cruise doesn’t work when it rains or when it’s cold).
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