The iconic Vancouver Aquabus adds an electric boat to the fleet

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” says Aquabus owner Geoff Pratt, who plans to eventually electrify more of the fleet.

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Vancouver’s Aquabus, a colorful small False Creek boat that transports residents and tourists to popular destinations such as Science World and Granville Island, runs on electricity.

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Geoff Pratt, the owner of the family business, says he is a bit of a gears who is excited to get rid of diesel and eventually turn all the boats into electric ones.

However, this will take time, especially for the larger platform ships Cyquabus.

The family has so far replaced one of its smaller wooden ships for 12 passengers from 1985, and he said the result was fantastic.

“In fact, it is very comfortable and quiet. So we’re happy with the result, “Pratt said, adding,” I’ve always wanted to do it. “

The Vancouver Aquabus replaced one of its older wooden boats with an electric one.  Photographic credit: Edwin Poulston.
The Vancouver Aquabus replaced one of its older wooden boats with an electric one. Photographic credit: Edwin Poulston. Photo by EDWIN POULSTON /jpg

In fact, he tried to switch to electricity about 10 years ago, but the technology just wasn’t the same as it is now.

“I spent a lot of money and we booted the system, but all the drivers would break,” he said. “Marine environments are the most demanding due to salt water and the systems are not yet ready for that.”

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He said the batteries used to be very heavy and are now much lighter, while charging lasts much longer. Pratt estimated the ship could be on False Creek for five or six hours before it could be charged.

Pratt said retrofitting boats is expensive, but as technology continues to change, it should be more cost-effective, and even though it has not yet reached numbers, it relies on potential savings in fuel costs and engine repairs.

“You’re pulling out a few things you don’t have to maintain anymore.” As if there was no transmission in the electrical system. It’s just backwards and forwards, “he said.

“I love mechanical things. So this project was fantastic for me. “

Pratt, 62, said his son and daughter also work for the company and is excited to move to a fully electric fleet in the future – not that he plans to retire soon.

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The Vancouver Aquabus replaced one of its older wooden boats with an electric one.  Photographic credit: Edwin Poulston.
The Vancouver Aquabus replaced one of its older wooden boats with an electric one. Photographic credit: Edwin Poulston. Photo by Edwin Poulston /jpg
The Vancouver Aquabus replaced one of its older wooden boats with an electric one.  Photographic credit: Edwin Poulston.
The Vancouver Aquabus replaced one of its older wooden boats with an electric one. Photographic credit: Edwin Poulston. Photo by EDWIN POULSTON /jpg

Aquabus has been serving False Creek and the surrounding area since its inception in June 1985 by owners Jeff and Margot Pratt, who initially operated only one ship. They quickly added three more ships just in time for Expo 86.

In 1995, they added the first Cyquabus, a boat capable of carrying bicycles, prams and wheelchairs. They now have a fleet of 14 vessels, eight of which are Cyquabuses.

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