Torqeedo-powered commuter fleet in service in Thailand
By Mike Brezonick06 January 2021
Thailand’s first emission-free commuter water taxi fleet went into full service late last year. On Nov. 26, Seven new vessels joined the first test boat, which has been successfully transporting Bangkok residents since 2018, in a commuter fleet operated by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA).
The 47.5 ft. fiberglass vessels were repowered by MariArt Shipyard, replacing 205 hp diesel engines with twin Torqeedo Cruise 10 kW electric outboards, 12 Power 24-3500 lithium batteries and four fast chargers. The 30-passenger, zero-emission water taxis are part of a fleet of ferries operated by BMA’s Enterprise Krungthep Thanakom Co. (KT BMA). The vessels operate on a 5 km route daily, providing a transport link between the express ferry on the Chao Praya river, the Saen Saep canal boats and the MRT subway station at Hua Lampjong.
“This is an important achievement for the city of Bangkok and a key part of our
Thailand 4.0 Smart City vision for an integrated clean, green public transportation system including bus, rail and waterways,” said Dr. Ekarin Vasanasong, deputy managing director of KT BMA, on the occasion of the first ferry’s launch. The high-tech vessels depart every 15 minutes, are fully accessible for wheelchair users and offer bicycle storage.
“Adding electric ferries to the intermodal public transport plan accomplishes the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority’s goals in two ways: moving passengers from roads to the waterways reduces congestion and, since the boats are 100% emission-free, they don’t contribute to harmful local air pollution,” said Dr. Michael Rummel, Torqeedo’s managing director. “Electric passenger vessels are also quiet, vibration-free, and an enjoyable way to travel through this beautiful city.”