Plymouth is living up to its tag as Britain’s Ocean City by hosting some of the world’s most advanced electrically-powered boats including vessels that are being unveiled for the first time anywhere in the world. And families can view the tech, and find out how the city is leading the way in the electric vehicle revolution and protecting the oceans, at Queen Anne’s Battery – for free.
The Green Tech Boat Show, organised by MDL Marinas, already drew in hundreds of visitors on Friday, and more than 30 exhibitors, to the Cattedown marina. Open from 10am to 5pm again today, Saturday, June 18, the show is dedicated to highlighting the boating industry’s most eco-friendly products and services, from electric and hydrogen power to water purification, to make boating as sustainable as possible.
Tim Mayer, MDL’s sales and marketing director, stressed that Plymouth, which has become the first city in the UK to install a network of waterside charging points, was at the forefront of the electric revolution with Queen Anne’s Battery being the first in the country to have a superfast charger. He said: “It’s not the future any more, it’s now. And it is building.”
Making its world debut at the show is the Pixii SP800, an electric-powered 7.5m boat, made from recycled aluminium and with a towing eye for water skiing or wakeboarding. It will cost about £260,000 but a day’s boating will cost about £24 in electricity instead of £300 to £500 in fuel. On a full charge, the SP800 can travel for 100 nautical miles at eight knots, or up to 60 nautical miles at 20 knots. It needs little maintenance and at the end of its 40- to 80-year lifespan the aluminium can be recycled again.
Charles Hall, Christchurch-based Pixii’s chief executive, said: “I’m very keen on selling here in Plymouth, it is the most advanced harbour in the UK for being set up for electric vessels. We are here to show the boat and keep an eye out for an early adopter.”
The world’s first electric RIB, the Pulse 63 from RS Electric Boats, is also on display. The Pulse 63’s interior deck, floor, console, engine box and hatches are all made from recycled carbon fibre, with a recycled PET (PolyEthylene Terephthalate) core. The 100% electric propulsion system is completely emissions-free and virtually silent, reducing noise pollution as well as carbon footprint. The model on display at the boat show sells for £74,000 plus VAT, but it can be customised with a covering, and lounge area, for instance, and cost up to £140,000.
Oscar Cordon, sales executive for RS Electric Boats, said that on a single charge the Pulse 63 can travel up to 100 nautical miles at five or six knots, or 75 nautical miles at twice that speed. At its top speed of 24 knots it could cover about 30 nautical miles. A superfast charger can have the boat fully juiced up in three hours.
Mr Cordon said RS Electric Boats was working in partnership with Cheetah Marine on other vessels such as catamarans and hybrids, but is developing its RIBs solo and aiming at the commercial market, such as harbour masters and port authorities, as well as the leisure sailors. He said: “This boat show is partly about technology and showing the public what we can do and how far the industry has come. People are coming together to share ideas.”
The Green Tech Boat Show is also an important platform for highlighting the need to protect the marine environment. The show was a hit when staged in Plymouth in 2021, despite the country being in the grip of Covid-19, but is 30% bigger this year and kicked off with a day-long symposium featuring 57 businesses and more than 70 individuals, including “some of the top thought leaders in the UK”, Mr Mayer said.
Also, during the whole event a series of informative talks will take place in the Innovation Hub, sponsored by the University of Plymouth. The line-up of speakers includes the INdIGO project (Innovative Fishing Gear for Ocean), explaining how to reduce marine plastic pollution through the development of biodegradable fishing equipment. Also presenting will be LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES, a four-year marine conservation partnership project, which will discuss the importance of safeguarding seabed habitats for a clean and healthy ocean.
Kate Fortnam, campaign manager for The Green Blue, an environmental programme set up jointly by the Royal Yachting Association and industry body British Marine, said the boat show was highlighting environmentally friendly products, from cleaning materials to pumps, and initiatives such as Plymouth’s seagrass project. She said: “We want to talk to individual boat owners about how they can be more sustainable and provide them with products and services to enable them to make that step change. It’s very important. We need to minimise the impact on the environment from the recreational boating community whether on inland or coastal water.”
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