05 December 2023
The partnership between river bus service Thames Clipper and transport company Uber is building the country’s first high-speed hybrid ferry.
The two new vessels have entered the construction process at Wight Shipyard on the Isle of Wight. Hence, the schedule outlines 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. Additionally, they can recharge while using bio-fueled power outside of central London.
Note that, the technology does not depend on shore-based charging. Hence, 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, they will be the city’s most eco-friendly passenger boats.
At the same time, the company expects the hybrid ferry vessels to push boundaries in catamaran design. Thus delivering a future-friendly option that has even greener potential as and when technology allows.
“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”.Sean Collins, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers’ co-founder and CEO
Furthermore, the company has committed to achieving net-zero with all new builds by 2025. Furtherly, for its wider fleet, infrastructure, and environmental footprint by 2040.
“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”.Sean Collins, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers’ co-founder and CEO
Meanwhile, work is underway at the company on three green marine feasibility projects. Note that they receive funding from 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.
They also receive support through funding 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 has influenced the specification of the new vessels for London.