Four Japanese companies have set out to build electric ships together. The joint venture between Mitsubishi, Asahi Tanker, Exeno Yamamizu and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is called e5 Lab and aims to complete the first electric ship by mid-2021.
No information on the ship’s exact specifications has been provided, only that “large-capacity batteries” will be used. However, the battery-electric tanker is planned for deployment in Tokyo Bay, indicating that it will be a coastal tanker and not suitable for the high seas.
The name e5 stands for electrification, evolution, efficiency, environment and economics. The joint venture wants to build more electric ships after the coastal tanker, according to a Mitsubishi announcement. The core of e5’s offer will be a self-developed platform on which the electrically powered ships and “a range of services” will be based.
In addition to battery-electric propulsion, the aim will be to improve working conditions on board by upgrading communication systems, which is essential for large ships with a small crew. Sensors will facilitate the maintenance and management of the ships, and data analysis will also help the crew to operate the ships as efficiently as possible.
The platform will also enable “all stakeholders in the marine shipping industry (including shipbuilders, equipment manufacturers, ship owners and operators, and cargo owners), ” to standardise vessels and technologies and thus “help to develop a sustainable growth model within the industry,” state the partners.