Earth clipper london eye

Uber launches new hybrid ferries along the Thames to cut emissions

Image credit: Uber

The first of three battery-powered high-speed ferries has started carrying passengers through central London.

The firm, already well known for its sometimes controversial ride-hailing service, partnered with Thames Clipper in 2020 and transports around 10,000 passengers a day.

From today, the first of three new zero-emission ferries takes to the waves in central London.

The ‘Earth Clipper’ achieves an almost 90 per cent reduction in CO2e compared with running solely on conventional diesel, Uber said. The hybrid boat will operate solely on battery power while transporting commuters and sightseers through the centre of the capital, between Tower and Battersea Power Station piers.

Earth clipper passengers

Image credit: Uber

It will then recharge while using biofueled power outside central London. It’s claimed this offers an emissions reduction of 16.5 per cent compared with running on biofuel alone throughout all parts of the route.

As well as being the first hybrid boat for the business, it is also its largest at 40m long – almost the length of two tennis courts laid end to end – and has a capacity of 230 passengers.

Uber Boat also said the new vessels will be quieter than previous models that run on the service, when the hybrids were first announced last year. 

Sean Collins, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers co-founder and CEO, said: “We are committed to not only utilising the most advanced technology to drive down our carbon footprint, but also to playing our part in breaking new ground to advance that technology as much as we can.

“The new boats push the boundaries in catamaran design to deliver a future-friendly option that can be made even greener as and when technology allows. We’re excited to announce too, that Earth Clipper will be joined by two sister vessels; Celestial and Mars Clipper will also join the fleet this year as we work towards our targets of reducing carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2040 for the overall business.”

The business plans to introduce a hybrid system with any new vessels added to the service and where possible, fully electrified or using zero-emission technology. In addition to the three hybrid boats, work is under way to deliver London’s first fully electric cross-river ferry between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe by the spring of 2025.

In 2020, a study found that ride-hailing services such as Uber produce 69 per cent more carbon on average than the taxi firms they are replacing.

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