In 2018, San Antonio turns 300. To celebrate its tricentennial and commitment to a sustainable future, the city is reimagining the fleet of water taxi, tour and charter barges that service its world-famous River Walk.
Each of the 43 boats will be powered by Torqeedo Cruise 10.0 motors and high-capacity lithium batteries, using fully electric propulsion.
The search for a new look began in 2015 with a national design competition. The winning proposal was inspired by papel picado, a colorful, intricate regional folk art.
Although the pill-shaped barges' decorative railings will reflect San Antonio's historical and cultural character, their use of the latest in marine propulsion technology demonstrates the city's promise to enhance the environment and quality of life for future generations.
Torqeedo's Cruise 10.0 motor will provide plenty of power for the 42-passenger, 27.5-foot aluminum vessels. And their batteries will easily complete up to 11-hour days before recharging at one of San Antonio's two marinas.
"It's been a pleasure to work with the city of San Antonio on this project," Torqeedo president Steve Trkla said in a statement. "Electric water taxis and tour boats are fast becoming commonplace in North America. San Antonio is a forward-thinking city that recognizes the huge advantages electric propulsion provides."
San Antonio awarded a $6.5 million boatbuilding contract to Wisconsin-based Lake Assault Boats, a division of Fraser Shipyards. Production of the full fleet will be completed in time for the 2018 tricentennial celebration.