Hybrid Venetian water taxi offers a more sustainable future

Venice-based design studio, Nuvolari Lenard, has completed work on a luxury Venetian water taxi to help preserve the historic city through the use of “green” technology featuring a hybrid engine as its fundamental component.

Venice’s pollution problems are well documented.

“Diesel electric hybrid propulsion seemed to be the most efficient solution for Venice’s particular requirements,” says Carlo Nuvolari, designer. “Short battery life is a common concern for many hybrid propulsion systems, but in Venice the water taxis make regular trips to the airport in open water where they travel at higher speeds using diesel, which gives the batteries time to recharge, even if not completely, for when the vessel returns to the low-speed confines of the city’s waterways, at which point it will only draw on the stored electric power.”

The first unit of the 14-seat luxury water taxi, Thunder, has been built at Cantieri Vizianello in Venice which developed the mechanical and electronic coupling system of the hybrid system. After a test period of about a year, it obtained complete approval by the classification bodies. The designers hope that this progressive model for transportation in the city will change the mindset of the historically conservative transport companies in Venice.

The design work hasn’t stopped. “For another prototype experimental project, we are currently in discussions with an Asian car manufacturer about the potential for using a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system, which is a very clean technology used in the aerospace field,” says Carlo. “Current limitations on the storage of hydrogen on vehicles mean that it will take some time before this technology obtains the necessary certifications to be placed on the market.

“Pushing boundaries in design and technology for marine transportation is something we try to do each day with our superyacht, production yacht and custom tender projects. And so Nuvolari Lenard is very proud to be doing something for Venice, as it is so close to our hearts and a stunning place that we want to help preserve for future generations.”

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