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The First Electric Water Taxi with Torqeedo Engine Arrives in Berlin

by xBJ1R439wX

Berlin is known worldwide as a city that has so much to offer: on the one hand for its strong art scene, and on the other for its nightlife and energetic character. It’s a much loved and appreciated destination, also at an architectural level, but above all for the technological innovations it always manages to offer. Among these, there is a very interesting one that cannot be ignored. Anyone who has visited the German capital has admired the boats that cross its canals and rivers, as much loved, as they are criticized for the noise and damage they cause to the climate. Or at least that’s how it was until recently!

Thanks to Torqeedo, the first water taxi was equipped with the powerful Deep Blue electric engine, eliminating any kind of disadvantage for the environment.

Discovering Oranje Nassau, the first electric taxi in Berlin

One of the many boats that travels across the canals of Berlin, the Oranje Nassau has a flat structure, is almost 20 meters long and has a very elegant style. But what makes it so special is the absence of a roaring diesel engine, to make way for an all-electric one. This allows it to move and glide silently on the water, within walking distance of Berlin’s large urban park, the Tiergarten , the German parliament and the world-famous art collections on Museum Island.Tourists will thus be able to enjoy a magical glimpse of the city, experiencing every move in an exciting way.

On board the Oranje Nassau in Berlin. Credits: Tim Marcour

The Oranje Nassau with its Torqeedo Deep Blue electric motor operates silently between the canals of the capital, without creating pollution of any kind, not even noise. Berlin has eleven navigable waterways covering up to 200 kilometres, with the rivers Spree and Havel and the famous Landwehr canal in the trendy districts. If we consider that naval traffic causes, according to the administration of the Senate of Berlin, 10% of the emissions of soot particles, we can immediately understand how important the arrival of the Oranje Nassau in the waters of the capital is.

In her eight-hour workday, skipper Stephanie Merkel transports hundreds of passengers along Berlin’s inner-city waterways – and enjoys the fact that “my head is no longer throbbing in the evening.” Credits: Tim Marcour

The “trendy” future of electromobility

Berlin is certainly one of the European and world cities that has always invested heavily in electromobility. And this can make it a metropolis symbol of a revolution that aims to involve more and more countries. Think of its quieter buses, electric cars and scooters, and hybrid taxis. But there are also important projects such as the transformation of 200 street lamps into charging stations for electric vehicles, a key step to make the city operational. And obviously Oranje Nassau is also one of the great projects that makes Berlin more and more innovative.

There is a very nice detail of the boat: it has been equipped with a green sign bearing a clear message. “Ick fahre elektrisch”, or “I am an electric vehicle”.

The “downside” of the green revolution: you must tell people what’s great about it for them to realize it. Credits: Tim Marcour

At the bow, under the friendly sign, there is a large compartment that houses the boat’s engine and fuel tanks. Here, we find three large Deep Blue batteries with a total storage capacity of 120 kWh. Axel Büchling, Torqeedo ‘s Commercial Project Manager, spoke about the power of the boat:

“This energy is considered more than enough to travel the Spree River for eight hours at cruising speed. It takes a lot of confidence to electrify a large fossil fuel-powered boat. But the market is undergoing big changes.”
And it is precisely for this reason that the Oranje Nassau project is considered so special.

“More than enough energy”: Three Deep Blue batteries ensure that the Oranje Nassau never runs out of juice. Credits: Tim Marcour

The 3 reasons that make the Oranje Nassau project so important

There are 3 big reasons that make the transformation of Oranje Nassau into the first real electric taxi so special. Let’s look at each reason below:

  1. Technology: we are dealing with a boat that is a symbol of technology, thanks also to its structure, easily chosen to become an electric boat. Its lightness was essential to give free rein to this transformation.
  2. Practical aspect: since electric mobility is considered by many to be the future of the transport sector, an effective and practical move was needed. In addition to being perfect on a structural level, the boat is also ideal for going electric due to the type of service it offers. In fact, it travels relatively short distances and therefore does not require too much operating power. Torqeedo, in this phase, was able to supply all the components of the system, confirming itself as the global market leader in electric water mobility.
  3. Passengers: those who get on board not only realize that they are part of something special but are surprised by the type of experience they are able to live during transport Not only are there no noises and nuisances, but there is also the awareness of offering a practical and comfortable service that increases the level of satisfaction of each person. When the Torqeedo motor is asked to accelerate, those on board certainly notice the difference, but not because of unpleasant noises.


As of today, the electric boat is just one, within a network of 100 boats and 40 shipping companies operating on Berlin’s canals. However, it’s natural to think that the situation will soon expand, leaving room for new electric boats sailing towards innovation and the future.

“Development picks up very quickly when the market sees that it is working and that the pros outweigh the cons. I expect many water taxis and tour boats will be converted fairly soon”, explained Büchling for Torqeedo.

And we are here to be part of the change.