The Anonymous Widower

Quiet Battery-Powered River Ferries To Serve Battersea Power Station Pier

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Nine Elms.

These two paragraphs give the story and explain the operation of the new boats.

Passengers using Battersea Power Station pier will soon be boarding the UK’s first hybrid high speed passenger ferries using battery power.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers are building two new vessels which will operate solely on battery power when travelling between Tower and Battersea Power Station piers – and recharge while using biofuelled power when sailing further east and west outside their central London route.

They will join the fleet in the Autumn.

There is also this environmental statement from Thames Clipper.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is committed to achieving net zero with all new builds by 2025 and for its wider fleet, infrastructure and environmental footprint by 2040.

That sounds very good to me.


I suspect that this policy will lead to increasing use on London’s river transport system.

I’d also like to see Thames Clipper better integrated with the Overground, Underground and the buses. Some of the walking routes could be improved and have better signage.

I also think, that the Thames Clipper would benefit, if the Freedom Pass could be linked to a credit card, so that Freedom Pass holders would only need to use one card to use all of London’s transport systems.

January 22, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. Good to see the boats are being built by Wight Shipyard IoW and not from Oz No technicals though. I believe most of the current fleet are water propelled so wonder whether they will go for a hybrid system as don’t need full power on this stretch due to low speed.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | January 22, 2022 | Reply

  2. I think it’s great that Thames Clippers are to operate hybrid ferries. These ferries are being built at Wight Shipyard on the Isle of Wight, a company already engaged in the development of its own marine hybrid propulsion projects.
    Thames Clippers in their previous guise as MBNA Thames Clippers were a founding member of the EU Horizon 2020 backed TrAM project.
    The aim of the TrAM project is to develop a zero emission fast going passenger vessel through….. “advanced modular production. New manufacturing methods will contribute to 25 per cent lower production costs and 70 per cent lower engineering costs. The project is revolutionary both in terms of zero emission technology and manufacturing methods, and will contribute to making electric-powered high-speed vessels competitive in terms of both cost and the environment”. Ironically the lead proponents for this project are Stavanger in Norway and the Thames Clipper, both non EU members. In any event the company is also receiving funding from the DfT
    As for Uber Boat being committed to achieving net zero with all new builds by 2025. Not surprising because that’s the year that their naming rights contract with Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) runs out. Thames Clippers is now owned by AEG, the company that runs the O2 Arena, Wembley Stadium, the Manchester Arena and a so-called Super Casino in Manchester. AEG bought Thames Clippers in 2020 and no sooner than having purchased it, discovered it wasn’t a core asset, which looks as though they’d like to be shot of them. I reckon Uber are paying a pretty penny for those naming rights.
    My view of the likes of AEG and Uber – corporate chancers.
    Like you I’m keen to see Thames Clipper integrated with the Overground, Underground and the buses, for example you can touch in and touch out with contactless payment cards or Oyster to pay as you go on their services, however they are a private company so Travelcard users like myself need to purchase (discounted) tickets which they offer via a number of options, although the Uber app offers little benefit, which I understand only works in the vicinity of the Thames Clipper piers.

    Comment by fammorris | January 22, 2022 | Reply

    • I agree with a lot of what you say.

      The Freedom Pass and other travel concessionary cards around the country are a generally trusted brand and need developing into a universal concessionary fare card for the UK.

      Say I want to go to Gatwick, I have to buy an extra ticket for my Freedom Pass, whereas those using bank cards or Oyster just touch in and out. It should be possible to link a Freedom Pass to a bank card, so the extra is automatically charged.

      I would also sell temporary Freedom Passes to older visitors to London and if the scheme was extended, other cities as well.

      There’s a lot you could do to expand the scheme and raise money too! But no existing uses would pay more.

      Comment by AnonW | January 22, 2022 | Reply

      • All metropolitan areas of England receive some form of concessionary travel, you might think they could arrange some reciprocal agreement between them. In practice it wouldn’t cost much.
        It’s the ‘rural poor’ from the shires that really lose out.
        As the rail miles go I live about 5 miles closer to Gatwick than you.
        I’ll bet you can get from Hackney Central to Gatwick on an open return from Zone 6 to the airport using your Freedom Pass at a cheaper price of an open return ticket from Guildford to Gatwick.
        Without a £30 Senior Railcard it costs me £16.40 leaving home at 8:30 on a weekday.

        Comment by fammorris | January 22, 2022

  3. Finding this took a lot of detective work but Thames Clipper and BAE Systems were considering the system in the link back in 2017
    The BAE Systems marine HybriGen system, which is manufactured in the USA is very much like the other hybrid systems such as those developed by Rolls-Royce, MTU. BAE supplied many HybriDrive systems to UK bus manufacturers until about 5 years ago.
    As a matter of interest I also found that the Norwegian Servogear control pitch propeller had been problematic for Thames Clipper ferries about 20 years ago, so I’m unclear whether they will copy the Norwegian Medstraum ferry in adopting the Servogear unit for these latest purchases. Being able to control pitch may permit regeneration for the batteries.
    It won’t surprise me, however, that the propeller used by Thames Clipper will be encased in a stern tunnel in the same way that the Medstraum’s unit is.

    Comment by fammorris | January 22, 2022 | Reply

  4. While the lockdown has meant I have not been out and about as much in last year or so I remember how dirty many boats on canals like the Regents canal in London with black smelling smoke coming out of them while road and rail vehicles are expected to become cleaner .

    Surely it’s time water traffic became as clean as other modes !

    Are there any different rules for water traffic?

    Comment by Melvyn | January 22, 2022 | Reply

    • Of course they’re different, the vast majority are dwellings and so come under the Clean Air Act. As for enforcement, when did you last see the Council’s Environmental Protection Officer going around to houses where they have wood burning stoves. The Mayor’s got know powers, he checked. I know it doesn’t address your question but when you consider the amount of pollution that was pumped out of Paddington Station each day that the old High Speed Trains were running you’ll see that a year’s worth of pollution for the whole fleet of canal boats in London is miniscule.
      You’d also better get rid of all those older diesel taxis as well, they’ll be allowed to operate in the ULEZ until 2035.

      Comment by fammorris | January 22, 2022 | Reply

  5. talking of electric ferries, Cleantechnica just alerted me to Belfast-based Artemis Technologies States that one of their EF-24 hydrofoil ferries will be in operation in 2024, run by Condor between Belfast and Bangor. Looks pretty impressive.

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 1, 2022 | Reply

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