Berlin’s oldest passenger vessel has recently received an upgrade to an emission-free electric drive system.

The 100-tonne vessel Kaiser Friedrich, which was purchased by Volker Marhold & Julius Dahmen in 2022, has been retrofitted with a brand new, ultra-efficient electric by electric mobility specialists Torqeedo.

The Kaiser Friedrich, a twin-screw steamship, in Berlin
Mr. Dahmen, co-owner of the 138-year-old vessel and operator of Berliner Welle, a company that provides a variety of historic boats for excursions and events, said:

Whisper-quiet, environmentally conscious and free of local emissions, the Kaiser Friedrich will again be available to the people of Berlin. This is the third Berliner Welle excursion boat that we have converted to Torqeedo electric drives, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration.

The drive system utilises a pair of Deep Blue 50i kW inboard motors, with a 400 kWh Deep Blue battery bank delivered by the Tangermünde Shipbuilding and Development Company in Genthin, Germany.

Fabian Bez, CEO of Torqeedo GmbH, said:

Torqeedo’s electric drive and energy management systems for commercial vessels are transforming the world’s waterways.

Major cities like Berlin are taking measures to reduce boating and shipping’s ecological, health and climate impacts. But it’s not just happening in urban areas: Lake Constance is working toward a holistic decarbonization strategy, and we see similar efforts implemented around the globe.

First built in 1886, the twin-screw steamship saw operation in Berlin for 80 years before being decommissioned in 1967. The vessel was then acquired by the German Museum of Technology in 1986, restored to its original state as a passenger ferry and resumed historical tours throughout Berlin, until its use of over 150 litres of diesel per hour was deemed both ecologically and economically unviable.

The Kaiser Friedrich resumed service on the waters of Berlin on 13 May 2024.

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