Power in the Future
AQUA superPower develops a network of fast-charging stations for e-boats.
Electric cars are increasing in numbers, but there’s still the issue of enough charging stations around the country to make them mainstream. The same goes for boats, and even though it’ll take longer for technology to catch up, AQUA superPower isn’t waiting. It has developed the first electric fast-charging station specifically designed for the marine environment.
“With over seventy electric boatbuilders and powertrain manufacturers currently operating, the range of available models is constantly expanding,” says CEO Alex Bamberg. “AQUA’s goal is to support all electric boat users by providing the infrastructure that will enable coastlines and inland waters to establish a lasting tradition of sustainable boating.”
With electric automobiles, a fast charge to keep the car moving on the road is paramount, and it’s the same with electric boats. Without the infrastructure, a move away from liquid carbon fuels for a sustainable boating culture won’t happen anytime soon.
“Clean marine mobility works best when recreational and commercial boat users can take advantage of conveniently located charging stations throughout their local area,” says Bamberg. “These e-boat corridors are central to the AQUA vision, developing critical regional infrastructure.”
Lake Tahoe, California, is one such region where the chargers are expected to be installed this summer with more planned in both coastal and inland lake locations. It all started in Monaco, and charger installations continue to expand in the south of France, Spain, the UK, and Canada. Italy currently has one in Portofino and one in Venice.
Each station provides AC and DC charging with a current maximum power output of 150 kW which allows DC-compatible powerboats to rapidly recharge and get on their way. The units are constructed using Hydro CIRCAL recycled aluminum, are fully sealed, and built to IP65 standards.
The AQUA75 that was on display at the Miami International Boat Show has up to 75 kW output power with 480VAC and is similar in size to a fuel pump at a gas station. The twin Combined Charging System allows AC charging using connectors based on the geographical region. Pull up, plug in, and recharge.
The AQUA superPower Fast Charging Station is supported exclusively by the AQUA network which is accessible to marine users via the AQUA secure app, secure contactless payment, or RFID card. The app will allow users to view a map showing charger options and offer navigational aids to guide them to charger locations.
What makes it nice for the marina is that AQUA will own, operate, and maintain the network of smart chargers using its own cloud-based back-office system giving safe access to a range of user functionalities. It provides a fully funded, turn-key solution to marina owners and waterside locations which includes upgrading grid connections, supplying and installing charging hardware, maintenance and operation, and managing the customer experience. There is no cost to the marina.
“Shore power is not sufficient to meet the needs of electric boats,” adds Bamberg. “Battery efficiency, size, and regular usage mean that owners will want to charge quickly in order to enjoy a full day out. AQUA chargers allow them to charge in twenty to ninety minutes. Shore power can take more than three days.”
It is estimated that there will be more than 1 million electric boats by 2030, all of which will require charging infrastructure to support them, and AQUA superPower is not only partnering with marinas across the globe but also with electric boat manufacturers.
Just days before the Palm Beach International Boat Show this past March, AQUA announced an alliance with X Shore, the Swedish supplier of electric boats in Europe and North America, to collaborate in driving infrastructure compatibility and technical standards for electrification across the marine industry as well as to “demonstrate the ecosystem and interoperability required to support marinas, boatbuilders, and consumers in the unstoppable transition to marine e-mobility.”
The announcement continued: “The marine e-mobility ecosystem requires a safe and reliable user interface providing clear guidance to charge points, coupled with ‘Plug and Charge’ technology when adoption becomes widespread.”
AQUA superPower is developing an all-electric and integrated global ecosystem of marine superchargers to reduce the impact of boating on the marine environment, and it seems they’ve caught the wave toward the future. aqua-superpower.com
-by Jeremy Peters