Paris is set to become the first city in the world to be serviced by SeaBubbles – novel green energy powered river taxis.
Constructed from fiberglass and foam, SeaBubbles are a small hydrofoil trimaran capable of carrying four passengers and a driver/pilot. Propellers attached to the back skids are powered by an electric motor and as the craft moves forward, it lifts so only the skids are immersed; greatly reducing drag.
Charging the SeaBubbles batteries will be carried out at riverside docking stations with solar panels installed..
As the SeaBubbles will be less expensive to run than conventional taxis, it’s expected fares will be cheaper too – and with less congestion; time between destinations could be much faster. SeaBubbles can attain a speed of around 30 km/hr.
Silent and with a range of 80-100 kilometres, SeaBubbles don’t generate waves; so won’t erode river walls – a major problem in some parts of the world
“Our vision for the Bubbles is to be a fun green mode of transport that answers the needs in the ever-congested public transport systems around the globe,” state the project team; which envisions an Uber-type app for hailing the taxis.
The first prototype is expected to be finished this year, with start of production of a small number of boats in February.
Five SeaBubbles will be tested on the Seine in Paris the middle of next year; then the team has its sights set on cities such as London and Geneva.
Creators Alain Thébault and Anders Bringdal believe their business model will enable fast roll out in many cities and say the craft could become driverless in the future.
Battery power and electric motors are increasingly being used in aquatic applications; along with solar power. In 2014, we reported on an electric ferry in Norway that had just racked up 4,000 trips.
In the Netherlands, the City of Amsterdam is taking electric boating very seriously, with 2-stroke engines on private boats on the city’s waterways to be banned from next year. Commercial vessels will need to achieve zero emission by 2025 and river ferries may also soon be converted to fully electric or hybrids.