Naval engineering firm Robert Allan has designed an all-electric pilot boat to ferry pilots to their bigger barges waiting further at sea. The RAlly 1600-E is to run 5 nautical miles, just short of 10 km, leaving enough capacity in the battery to get back safe.
Safety is a priority for pilot boats of course that are used to carry pilot (or captains) to their boats at sea or to help them enter a port. The Rally 1600-E could sail a little longer though as power is supplied by a large 815 kWh battery system made of 70 modules. When running over 5 nautical miles, there will still be about 30 percent of power left. On top, there is a set of small auxiliary generators on board which the firm says give a “get home” and range extension capability but are normally not running.
The press release has got the following to add about the battery: “As required by Class they (the modules) are arranged in a separate compartment which is located in the middle of the boat between the accommodations and the machinery space. The batteries are liquid cooled and the entire space is well ventilated and fitted with a FirePro fire extinguishing system. The same batteries also power the boat’s normal electrical load of lighting, etc. The entire design is eligible for Class approval such a Lloyd’s, ABS, or Bureau Veritas.”
The vessel by Robert Allan measures 16 metres in length and can accommodate a crew of 2 and transport 4 pilots. It is equipped with two 500 kW electric motors capable of a top speed of 20 knots, about 37 kph.
Robert Allan has not released any pricing yet but it is expected for the all-electric pilot boat to be more expensive than the diesel version, at least before fuel savings kick in.