138-year-old ship converted to electric drive in Berlin

Berlin's oldest passenger ship 'Kaiser Friedrich' used to consume a whopping 150 litres of diesel per operating hour. But this is now a thing of the past: Torqeedo, a specialist in electric boat drives, has converted the 138-year-old ship to an electric drive.

Image: Torqeedo/Malte Jäger

The ‘Kaiser Friedrich’ was built in 1886 and is therefore steeped in history. The twin-screw steamer travelled the waters of Berlin for almost 80 years before being decommissioned in 1967 and converted into offices and living quarters. In 1986, the German Museum of Technology acquired the 100-tonne ship and restored it to its original form. For several years, the ‘Kaiser Friedrich’ delighted guests with historical city tours until the propulsion system, which consumed over 150 litres of diesel per hour, made the operation ecologically and economically unprofitable.

The ‘Kaiser Friedrich’ has now received a new license on life and is opening a new chapter for city tours through Berlin. A modern, emission-free electric drive from Torqeedo makes this possible. Volker Marhold and Julius Dahmen from the excursion boat company Berliner Welle had previously acquired the “Kaiser Friedrich”.

In close cooperation with Torqeedo’s Customised Solutions team, the conversion to a highly efficient electric drive system with two Deep Blue 50 kW inboard motors and a 400 kWh Deep Blue battery bank was expertly carried out by Schiffbau- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft Tangermünde in Genthin.

Part-owner Julius Dahmen says: “Whisper-quiet, environmentally conscious and free of local emissions, the Kaiser Friedrich will again be available to the people of Berlin. This is the third Berliner Welle excursion boat that we have converted to Torqeedo electric drives, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration.”

“The Kaiser Friedrich is a longtime maritime landmark of the city,” explained Dahmen’s business partner Volker Marhold. “And now it is also a symbol of transformation towards the mobility of the future. And what a wonderful future for Berlin’s oldest passenger vessel, which can now once again welcome passengers to celebrate life with them while enjoying breathtaking views of our beautiful city.”

“Torqeedo’s electric drive and energy management systems for commercial vessels are transforming the world’s waterways,” says Fabian Bez, Managing Director of Torqeedo. “Major cities like Berlin are taking measures to reduce boating and shipping’s ecological, health and climate impacts. But it’s not just happening in urban areas: Lake Constance is working toward a holistic decarbonization strategy, and we see similar efforts implemented around the globe.”

“An electrification project of this size and historical significance is an important step forward,” Bez added. “Commercial vessels of all sizes can be cleaner, quieter, and healthier for our natural and human environments. The technology is here today. It’s time to go electric.”

Torqeedo is recognised as the world leader in electric propulsion for boats. The company was recently sold by its previous owner, the Cologne-based mechanical engineering company Deutz, to the Japanese engine specialist Yamaha.


1 Comment

about „138-year-old ship converted to electric drive in Berlin“
William Tahil
15.05.2024 um 14:52
Terrifying. Erschreckend.

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