Electric boats specialist Grove Boats has supplied a ferry currently operating on the River Seine at Rouen, France, in order to assess whether a permanent service would be a viable alternative to building a new bridge.
The 16m-long solar-powered catamaran – named Felix de Azara – is powered by a pair of 8kW electric motors whose electricity comes from 50m2 of solar panels mounted on the roof. The boat has a capacity of 60 people and is primarily aimed at providing a commuter service across the river. The crossing across takes six to seven minutes.
Transdev Mobility, an international company that manages a large number of ferries, river shuttles and other marine transit options across five countries, is coordinating the operation and the scheduling of the service. International energy company Engie, which is also a key sponsor of the zero emission Energy Observer hydrogen ship, is responsible for the solar electric energy management systems on board the Felix de Azara.
The ferry has been operating since July of 2019 and the service is scheduled to cease later this year to allow an assessment to be made of the viability of the operation as a substitute for building the new bridge.