Torqeedo motors power Chinese river cleanup

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Torqeedo motors are powering a fleet of workboats in China

Torqeedo motors are powering a fleet of workboats in China

The city of Suzhou in eastern China has deployed a fleet of electric workboats powered by Torqeedo motors as part of a program to clean up its canals and waterways.

The ancient city of Suzhou, located in Jiangsu Province near Shanghai, is home to more than 10 million people.

Often called the “Venice of the East,” the 2,500-year old city is noted for its many canals, rivers, lakes, ancient stone bridges, pagodas and gardens.

Suzhou Creek, which flows through the city to Shanghai, was at one time said to be the most contaminated waterway in China, filled with sewage and garbage. Over the past decade, the river has undergone a major transformation and is an acclaimed environmental success story.

As part of the clean-up program, the Suzhou River Management Administration commissioned the construction of 177 vessels designed specifically to remove floating debris from the water.

The administration specified electric-powered boats for the project because of their environmentally-friendly footprint, and after a competitive evaluation, the builder selected Torqeedo as the supplier of electric motors for the boats.

Torqeedo has now completed outfitting the entire fleet, which includes 18 29-foot, 6-inch steel catamarans with twin Cruise 4.0 outboards, 22 catamarans at 23 feet long with twin Cruise 2.0 outboards and 137 wooden boats measuring approximately 19 feet, 8 inches with Cruise 2.0 outboards.

The boats were designed and built by China Ship Scientific Research Center; they’re owned by the Suzhou River Management Administration and operated by private contractors. The vessels use specially designed equipment to scoop up and capture floating items in the water.

“This successful large-scale deployment of our proven Cruise series electric outboards is an important validation of Torqeedo’s clean, green technology,” said Torqeedo CEO Christoph Ballin in a statement. “China is taking environmental cleanup seriously and is at the forefront of adopting electric propulsion to reduce air and water pollution.”


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