Transport Canada and Tourism Quebec have announced an agreement to have up to 15 Vision Marine electric boats available for rent on a waterways system near Montreal known as the Haut-Richelieu (high Richelieu) project.
Vision Marine Technologies (VMT), based in Montreal, has been on a roll since its new NASDAQ listing and $27M Initial Public Offering in November. Formerly known as the Canadian Electric Boat Company, Vision Marine is now expanding into producing electric outboard powertrains in addition to its current range of 5 e-boat models.
The company is also involved in a range of electric boat rental outlets – on both coasts of the US, in Hawaii, Bermuda, Australia, the UK and Portugal. Montreal also has an existing rental operation, launched in 2018 on the Route de Champlain water system.
Electric boats for north and south of Île de Montréal
La Route de Champlain is on the Prairies River on the northern side of the Isle de Montreal, a designated tourist site that closely follows the water routes of explorer Samuel de Champlain, who founded New France in 1608. The new Vision Marine electric boats will ply the waters of the Richelieu River, south of the island, that run north-south down to the US border and into Vermont.
VMT will provide up to 15 electric boats for rental and water taxis along the 30 km section of the river from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu to Noyan. Production is underway to prepare for the first boats to be launched this spring.
The circuit will include 15 stopovers in a very ecofriendly tourism area that is especially popular with cyclists. Every August since 1984 the area also buzzes with an international festival of hot air balloons, the 2019 edition hosting over 60 teams from as far away as Arizona, Florida and Brazil.
Christian Desautels, General Manager of the Haut-Richelieu project, stated, “This unique operation will provide excellent nautical lookouts at strategic locations on the Richelieu, and our goal is to make the waterways accessible for everyone to enjoy the area to the utmost.”
Vision Marine electric boats making new history
With a full fleet of 15 Vision Marine boats the Haut-Richelieu would be the largest electric boat operation in Canada. “We are excited to be the main provider of fully electric power boats to the province of Quebec and this project, ” said Alex Mongeon, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vision. “and we look forward to developing a strong partnership across the country with Transport Canada.”
Like all waterway authorities, Transport Canada is closely watching and responding to the rapid changes in electric boating. In August they approved the first lithium-ion passenger boat carrying more than 25 passengers – a refitted tour boat now set up for going deep sea fishing in the Atlantic waters off Halifax.
Vision Marine, for its part, continues to make news as it expands and refines its operations for production of its E-Motion electric outboard powertrain. The system combines battery pack, inverter, and high efficiency motor with proprietary union assembly between the transmission and the electric motor design.
Boat Fix supplying telematics for new VMT boats
Just last week the company announced that they will be working with telematics leader Boat Fix, who will deliver a custom, white-labeled telematics solution to be included with all model year 2021 electric boats. The hardware, software and accompanying app can monitor each VMT motor and vessel and back it up with 24/7 customer support and services.
Boat Fix Founder Alastair Crawford said “One of the unique challenges of electric propulsion is the charge remaining in the battery is dependent on speed and therefore, unlike a fuel gauge, it is hard to know how much range you have left. In addition to providing our standard vessel monitoring, we have created a solution that will make sure users have the runtime to get where they’re going so they can enjoy the quiet and serenity of an electric boat.”