The history of pure electric and hybrid vessels dates back over a hundred years -- the boat Lady Lena from 1890 may be the oldest still in existence. Since the early 2010s, sales of pure electric and hybrid vessels have picked up, driven by the need to reduce local pollution of NOx, SOx and particulate matter.
While vessel operators have mainly turned to low-sulphur fuels such as methanol and LNG, as well as invested in scrubbers to clean tail-pipe gases before they are released, some have already invested in hybrid and electric powertrains. IDTechEx expects this to accelerate after 2020 when stringent global sulphur regulations come into force, and there is an oversupply of high-sulphur fuel oil. Fuel economy, rising fuel prices and a pleasant riding experience (reductions to noise and vibrations) is also driving the change.
Although a transition is underway, ultimately there will be a coexistence with today's propulsion technologies because of upfront cost, range anxiety, lack of charging infrastructure and the slowness of change in the marine industry.
In this IDTechEx webinar, an overview of the key marine segments where IDTechEx has observed a leap to electric and hybrid vessels is presented, along with the main regulatory and technological drivers that are facilitating the change.