This content is from Plugboats – “everything electric boats and boating”
It has been quite a year already for Aqua superPower’s network of electric boat fast chargers: expansion to Canada, Italy and Spain coming on the heels of installations with the UK’s largest marina operator.
The mission of Aqua superPower is to “reduce the impact of boating on the marine environment through the development of an all-electric and integrated global ecosystem of marine superchargers.” Theirs are the first superchargers to be specifically engineered and rated for use in marine environments, built to IP65 standards and constructed using Hydro CIRCAL recycled aluminium.
The electric boat fast chargers have AC and DC 25kW-150kW power and can be used for everything from recreational electric and hybrid boats to electric jet-skis, super yacht tenders, commercial vessels and passenger ferries. Aqua will own, operate, and maintain the network with their own cloud-based system and users have an app with maps of charger options and navigational aids to charger locations.
Alex Bamberg, CEO of Aqua superPower, says “In the marine environment, access to charging infrastructure that offers a reliable plug & charge experience, with features like charge point visibility, is absolutely essential if we are to develop the confidence to transition away from polluting liquid carbon fuels.”
Monaco, Mediterranean, MDL and Miami
The first Aqua superPower chargers were installed in 2019 in Monaco, as the flagship in a network extending along the Mediterranean to ports like Cannes and St. Tropez. In 2021 they received a grant from the UK’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition and were showcased at the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow for their work with the Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL) in Plymouth.
A few weeks later MDL Marinas signed up with Aqua to have the electric boat fast chargers installed at five UK marinas with a total of 1,721 boat berths. There is a big upside to this, as MDL manages over 7,000 berths and operates 20 major marinas and boatyards in the UK and Europe.
In February of 2022 at the Miami International Boat Show‘s new Charged! Electric Pavilion, Aqua superPower was one of the lead exhibitors, along with the Nautique GS22E electric water sport boat and the Vision Marine Technologies E-Motion 180E electric outboard.
Speaking about North American opportunities, CEO Bamberg said “While the marine sector may lag others in terms of deployment, the massive growth of electric vehicles on the highway has proved that electrification is the way forward. The requirement for a joined-up network of reliable and fast marine chargers to create charging hubs and corridors for electric boat users is absolutely crucial if we are to secure the transition away from liquid carbon fuels.”
While there has not yet been a major announcement for an Aqua superPower network in the US market, the expectation is there will be an announcement soon as Aqua partners and expands in other countries.
Electric boat fast chargers for Canada, Italy, Spain
Canada: January 11, 2022
Aqua superPower announced an agreement with BCI Marine to have the superchargers installed at BCI partner locations. The provinces of Ontario and Quebec in central Canada will be the first to receive the chargers, with the first expected to be in place for the launch of the Canadian summer boating season in mid-May.
“We know that for the electric boat market to truly launch in Canada, a conveniently available super charging network is essential” says Patrick Hardy, President of BCI Marine.
“We introduced the all-electric X-Shore EELEX 8000 to the Canadian market last fall, with other electric brands to be launched soon. Other electric boat builders will come to market too, so strategically, BCI Marine taking the initiative to introduce electric boat fast chargers is the right, responsible, and logical next step, for the Canadian consumer, and marine dealers.”
Italy: March 1, 2022
In Italy Aqua has announced a strategic partnership with e-concept, creators of the electric boat chargers that have been designed to look like the traditional wooden mooring posts – ‘palina’ – used for centuries on the canals of Venice. They will be working together to install public Type 2 AC charging infrastructure in Venice, other inland waterways and European lakes.
Both e-concept and Aqua superPower were at the Venice e-Regatta last June and their agreement to work together will make a compelling electric boat charging solution for the many installations where environmental, cultural and heritage factors need to be considered.
“We look forward to working with Aqua on the integration of their hardware and software within our product for AC systems and are proud for our technology to be part of the world’s first marine fast charging network.” said Matteo Bartoli, co-founder of e-concept.
Spain: March 3, 2022
The Catalan Association of Tourist Marinas (ACPET) has partnered with Aqua superPower to promote the creation of a network of connected marine fast-charging services for its members, which account for 87% of all port concessions granted in Catalonia.
Through the partnership, Aqua superPower will supply and install its high-power smart grid marine chargers at no cost to the site owner/operator, creating an infrastructure for electric boats and charging corridors along the 580 km (360 mi) of Catalonia’s coastline.
“At ACPET we want to help our members achieve their sustainability and decarbonization goals. We’re delighted to be partnering with Aqua superPower to be able to support people wishing to make their boating more sustainable by offering rapid charging and network infrastructure for electric boat users across our marinas.” says Albert Bertran, President of ACPET.
Fast electric boat chargers for fast electric boats
This growth by Aqua is definitely impressive, but also just a hint of what is to come. A report from IDTechEx estimates that “the market for hybrid and pure electric boats and ships will rise rapidly to over $20 billion worldwide in 2027“. Assuming the boat market continues to grow in line with historical trends, it is likely there will be more than 1 million electric boats by 2030. They all need to be charged somewhere!
The other part of the story is that the market for electric boats in the past was largely for low kiloWatt cruising models with owners happy to charge the batteries overnight. There is increasing demand for high power motors and the desire to quickly charge and get back out on the water. (As a quick glance through the ‘Recreational Boats‘ category of Plugboats will show).
As Aqua superPower’s Alex Bamberg points out, “When you’re asking a consumer to make a significant investment in an electric boat, you want to assure them they can have the charging that suits their lifestyle.”