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Plymouth to Get UK's First Charging Network for Electric Maritime Vessels

21st October 2021
Plymouth's Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL), will provide the pivotal infrastructure required to accelerate innovation and growth
Plymouth's Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL), will provide the pivotal infrastructure required to accelerate innovation and growth

Plymouth is set to become the first city in the UK to install a network of shore-side charging facilities for its expanding fleet of electric maritime vessels.

Over the past year, the city has become home to the UK's first marine electric passenger ferry and an electric water taxi that will operate 364 days a year.

However, access to infrastructure is currently a barrier to ensuring further growth in this emerging sector can happen in a coordinated and sustainable way.

With that in mind, a consortium of city partners is joining forces to create Plymouth's Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL), which will provide the pivotal infrastructure required to accelerate innovation and growth.

The project has received more than £570,000 funding as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

It will develop a network of charging facilities around Plymouth Sound, offering multiple, flexible sites and responding to the Maritime 2050 route map for maritime net zero.

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About Electric outboard engines

The direct-drive component in electric outboard engines means that the electric motors are incredibly efficient compared to conventional marine combustion motors, operating with considerably higher torque whilst using less power.

Without any need for gears, cooling systems and moving parts the motors are maintenance free, highly efficient and economic to run.

As a result, electric boat engines are becoming more popular on Irish waters as the world transitions from fossil fuels to green energy.

To date, popular electric engine sizes have been trolling engines typically used by fishermen on lakes.

These marine engines are available in models that can be used in fresh water and sea water, for your boat or kayak.

Electric motors are Ideal for fishermen because they are quiet and create little in the way of disturbance 

Popular electric trolling models range from 30lb thrust to 55lb thrust in a range of shaft lengths.

But use is becoming broader now in 2021 and electric outboard engines are being used on small runabouts and RIBS where electric outboard engine sizes are getting bigger.

Outboard electric engines are economical and environmentally friendly. Battery technology is also improving at a rapid rate meaning they are becoming smaller and lighter and run for longer.

Built in hydro-generation provides alternative recharging options whilst under sail are also options meaning the electric outboard now has a home on the stern on small yachts and dayboats too.

As far back as 2014, Torqeedo owner Jack O'Keefe from Cork Harbour told Afloat readers of his sailing adventures in a Drascombe Coaster dinghy and how after swapping from a petrol version the rewards from his new electric outboard engine are less noise, no smells, more stowage, better sailing performance and a motor that can be started by a small child. But it's still not silent, there's a whine he says here 

Popular brands in Ireland are Torqeedo, ePropulsion, Pulsar and Minn Kota but there are more arriving all the time as the technology advances

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