Vessel Type: River Passenger cruiser
Motors: Bellmarine 65W Torquemaster
Cruising speed: 6km
Max. speed: 10kts
Recently, our Technical team had an opportunity to visit a fully electric vessel in The Netherlands. This vessel, named “The Tulip,” was originally built in the mid-1960s as a 65 person tourist boat and was fitted with a single diesel engine located in the bow. However, due to new environmental legislation, the vessel underwent a full electric conversion.
The conversion included placing the batteries in two separate compartments in the bow and shortening the shaft to fit a single Bellmarine Torquemaster 65W with a reduction gearbox. The vessel also has a single thruster fitting in the bow to assist with undocking. While the vessel is capable of exceeding 10 knots, it is limited to 6 km/hr in the Amsterdam canal network.
Our team had the opportunity to test the vessel’s capabilities and found that it operates virtually silently. The captain noted that many passengers have remarked on the quiet operation, and he personally notices the lack of metallic taste in his mouth at the end of the day from diesel fuel and exhaust fumes he experienced before the conversion. The driveline is also incredibly responsive, with virtually instantaneous torque compared to the previous diesel drive. This has greatly improved the vessel’s ability to operate in the confines of the canals.
The vessel uses around 60% of its installed battery capacity during 10-12 hours of cruising each day and is recharged overnight with shore power. Ancillaries are run with the supplied DC-DC converter, and cabin heating uses a diesel heater system. Currently, the vessel is operated by Amsterdam Boat Cruises.
This electric conversion is a prime example of how vessels can be retrofitted to meet new environmental requirements while still maintaining their original functionality. The Technical team was incredibly impressed with the conversion and the vessel’s capabilities. The reduction in noise and emissions alone make it a worthwhile investment for any operators looking to update their fleets.