Smart charging solutions for recreational (private) boats

Mobility 2020

Background
The City of Amsterdam aims for all pleasure craft (i.e. private boats) in the city (approximately 7,000 boats) to be zero-emission – electric – by 2030. This is to improve the city’s air quality and support a general move to quiet, clean, and efficient transportation. In the city centre, the zero-emission norm should already be in place by 2025. These two goals require a major transition for the city and its boat owners. Amsterdam has proven to be a world leader when it comes to the adoption of electric cars and our aim is to be the same for boats.

Currently, charging pleasure craft is a challenge as most boats are only used approximately five to 15 times per year. The battery technology (lead acid) is still not very advanced due to economies of scale, and charging is slow (taking about four to eight hours). Batteries also drain over time when not used. Public charging infrastructure is minimal and expensive due to this low utilisation and high infrastructure costs. There is also a strict policy to prevent more fixed objects in public spaces. Lastly, it should be noted that for now, boat owners are free to moor their boats anywhere on Amsterdam’s canals.

Another challenge is that it electric boats and their charging technology is a nascent market, with the prediction that many innovations – improved batteries, charging technology, and modifications to the boats in general – are still to come over the next 10 years. Thus, the number of electric boats is still low, which is a potential challenge for the business case.

The city does have a few public charging stations for boats and will install 10 to 20 more in 2020. Some electric boats are moored in private harbours, but there is no space for all boats in these. A few of the ideas that have been presented to us are: charging stations for cars being adapted for boat charging, street light chargers, swappable batteries, a charging boat that you can request by an app, and charging stations built into the quay wall.

The Challenge
Develop a sustainable, client-friendly, financially attractive, and scalable charging solution for electric pleasure craft that can preferably be tested and realised before summer 2021.

The solution offered by the Startup must meet the following minimal criteria
The solution needs to be scalable, fit well in the public space, be developed towards a sustainable financial model for commercial operators, easy to use and financially viable for boat owners, and adaptive to the new and developing market. The solution needs to be developed in conjunction with the boat building/retrofitting branch as well as the user branches of HISWA/RECRON to give solid ground for growth – the City of Amsterdam can support this.

Issued by 
Programma Varen, Duurzaamheid, Laadinfra

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