Saft targets growing market for electric-powered boats

It might be just two more vehicles that Saft’s high-tech batteries are helping to “go greener,” but they’re vehicles we don’t always think about when aiming to cut carbon emissions: ferry boats.

French transportation company Keolis plan to use advanced lithium-ion batteries from Saft when it launches a new ferry service across Bordeaux’ Garonne River in 2012. The two quiet-running, low-emission, hybrid diesel-electric ferries will rely on the batteries for auxiliary loads like lighting and communications, as well as for power for their electric propulsion motors. The batteries will be charged overnight from the local grid, store energy produced by the boats’ generators and provide fully electric power during peak morning and evening hours to reduce fuel costs and emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides.

The river shuttle service is expected to carry some 200,000 passengers and their bicycles each year. The hybrid boats are aimed at helping the Urban Community of Bordeaux (CUB) move toward greener transportation and meet the city’s environmental targets.

The project marks an “important early success” in Saft’s latest effort to focus on growth in the marine propulsion market, according to Bertrand d’Hautefeuille, Saft’s sales director for marine activities.

“It is especially pleasing that one of the first applications for a hybrid boat battery system developed and manufactured at our facility in Bordeaux will be of major benefit to the local community,” d’Hautefeuille added.

Saft nickel-based batteries are also already providing propulsion power for zero-emission electric shuttle ferry services in La Rochelle and on Paris’ Saint-Denis canal.


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