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The first set of new ‘hybrid riverboats’ has launched on the Thames

The first of a set of new hybrid riverboats has launched on the Thames.

River operator Uber Boat by Thames Clippers – which runs services between Putney and Barking – unveiled its £7m ‘Earth Clipper’ craft on Tuesday morning.

It is Europe’s first hybrid high-speed passenger ferry, and will operate solely on battery power while travelling through central London. West of Battersea Power Station and east of Tower Bridge, its batteries will recharge while the vessel uses biofuelled power to propel itself.

The boat is expected to provide an almost 90 per cent carbon dioxide reduction, compared with running solely on conventional marine diesel.

It is also the company’s largest boat yet, at 40m long – almost the length of two tennis courts laid end to end – and has a capacity of 230 passengers.

The first set of new 'hybrid riverboats' has launched on the Thames Harrow Online
A view from the new ‘Earth Clipper’ boat. Credit: Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service

Sean Collins, the firm’s CEO, said that in addition to its green credentials, the new boat is also “significantly quieter than any other vessel in our fleet.”

He added: “It will, I hope, demonstrate to our customers and to visitors to London, that green technology for [the] marine [sector] is achievable and Uber Boat by Thames Clippers has started its journey onto net zero.”

The company’s target is to be entirely net zero by 2040, and to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.

“We’ve already got two more [hybrid boats] under development, with plans being drawn up for another two,” said Mr Collins.

The CEO also revealed that a new fully-electrified, cross-river ferry is planned to run between Surrey Quays and Canary Wharf,  due for delivery in the spring of 2025.

Unmesh Desai, a Labour member of the London Assembly, said cross-river connections of that kind were needed, calling the lack of Thames crossings east of Tower Bridge “a scandal”.

The first set of new 'hybrid riverboats' has launched on the Thames Harrow Online
Unmesh Desai, Labour London Assembly Member for City and East. Credit: London Assembly

Mr Desai, who represents the boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Barking and Dagenham, along with the City of London, said more river boat services would bring an economic boost to his constituency.

“The west of London is well-served in terms of bridges,” he said.

“So I would like to see cross-river services, say from Newham to Greenwich, or from Barking Riverside to Bexley [borough].”

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