First electric passenger boat powered by ‘second life’ batteries developed in Paris


Renault, French specialist maritime company Seine Alliance, and electric propulsion expert Green-Vision have developed the first all-electric passenger boat powered by so-called ‘second life’ batteries.

Called Black Swan, the new craft represents the first step towards Seine Alliance’s goal of an all-electric river cruise fleet by 2024.

Due to go into service in 2020, Black Swan can carry up to eight passengers and uses lithium-ion batteries previously used in Renault ZE vehicles.

The lithium-ion batteries powering Black Swan are refurbished units previously used in Renault ZE vehicles

After being reconditioned these cells now power a pair of 20kW electric motors that allow two hours cruising on the River Seine in Paris, while full charge takes 2-3 hours.

Black Swan is based on an existing craft built by Italian firm Tullio Abbate. Originally powered by a conventional internal combustion engine, it now features four ‘second life’ batteries housed in specially designed, water-tight stainless steel containers located beneath the boat’s bench seats.

The batteries and motors together weigh 278kg (613 lb), which is less than the combined total of the original fuel tank and engines.