This is a small innovation with big consequences. The first cruise ship retrofitted with a 100% electric engine, representing a worldwide first, has opened the way for a more responsible and desirable journey. The group, with 800,000 travelers per year, has just received the first of its cruise ships after replacing its thermal engine with an electric motor. This adventure began in 2021, after the Covid-19 health crisis, when the CEO of Vedettes de Paris, Marie Bozzoni, participated in the Convention of Companies for the Climate (CEC).
She realized the value of a healthy river and the need to reduce the carbon impact of the boats and eventually save on the diesel bill. Vedettes de Paris faced the challenge of reducing the carbon impact of the boats and saving on the diesel bill, but also had to immobilize the boats during their transformation. This led to a decision to proceed with the change in stages. Detailed studies began in the autumn of 2021 to take into account the significant weight of the batteries while improving the hydrodynamics of the hull.
After six months of studies, a tender was launched for construction in November 2022, won by Actemium, a subsidiary of Vinci Energies, leading to a 100% French project. A total of twelve months of work were necessary to transform the energy battery pack and engine, as well as the hull and steering equipment. Two more boats, out of a fleet of five, have been under construction since November 2023 and should be ready for the high season in April and May. A fourth boat is expected to be transformed during the winter of 2024/2025.
As for the fifth and last boat, it may not be part of the same project. The company is considering other technologies such as hydrogen, aiming to mainly have a 100% electric fleet by the margin of the 2024 Paris Olympics, and revolutionize tourism by placing sustainability as the core value of its mission. The CEO is enthusiastic about the transformation and the unique experience on board, highlighting the absence of noise, smell, and vibration, offering passengers a much calmer experience. However, those wishing to embark on the electric model will have to be patient until the entire fleet is converted.
As of now, it is not possible to know in advance if one can embark on the unique electric model. The CEO advises interested parties to call in advance and hopes that the departure schedule of the boat coincides with their availability.