It's not just London's buses and taxis that are electrifying — so are its boats.
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers has announced it's launching two hybrid high speed passenger ferries on its Central Zone route, between Tower and Battersea Power Station piers.
The first ferry is set to be in service in autumn 2022, with a second arriving on the Thames in spring 2023.
Apparently a UK first, the vessels — which are being manufactured on the Isle of Wight, and take on a streamlined catamaran design not dissimilar to boats of the current fleet — will run on battery power only, and recharge using biofuelled power. During operating hours, the boats won't require shore-based charging; instead, excess power from the biofuelled engines will recharge their batteries.
The new ferries are part of Thames Clippers' drive to be net zero with all new builds by 2025 and for its wider fleet, infrastructure and environmental footprint by 2040.
To hit this target, depending on their age, some boats will be replaced with new vessels, and others retrofitted with eco friendly tech. "All new vessels will be of a similar design but are likely to evolve as the technology develops," a Thames Clippers spokesperson tells us. Which maybe precludes these Bond villain boats mooted a while back.
Additional to their eco credentials, the new boats feature a revised cabin layout, increasing capacity to 231 passengers (currently, the largest vessel holds 222) and improving access for disabled people, buggies and luggage.
The Thames was once, of course, a major artery for travel in London; in 2019, TfL's Pier Passenger Strategy Action Plan announced it wanted to see a return to such times, with 20 million passengers using the Thames by 2035. As yet though, there are no plans to expand the current Thames Clippers timetable.