A jet boat attraction in New Zealand has received a government grant to convert one of its craft from a V8 internal combustion engine to fully electric.
Operated by Ngāi Tahu Tourism, the Shotover Jet canyon ride is named after the Shotover River in Arthur’s Point, Queenstown. The operation has seven boats, each taking 14 passengers at up to 90km/h (55mph) in water as shallow as 10cm. The firm applied to New Zealand’s NZ$800,000 (US$500,000) Marine Electrification Fund managed by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), and were awarded NZ$200,000 (US$125,000) toward a pilot project to convert one of their craft to electric power.
River trials will take place, and if successful, Shotover Jet will begin passenger operations and conversion of further boats in its fleet. Originally established in 1965, the operation carried its one millionth passenger in 1995 and was majority purchased by Ngāi Tahu Holdings in 1999.
Chairman of the EECA Elena Trout said, “We have approved funding for projects that will demonstrate the viability of electric marine passenger vessels in New Zealand. Finding ways to move away from fossil fuels for transport is essential if New Zealand and the world is to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. The marine electrification funding round was established due to increasing interest in the technology and demand by industry.”