Electric boats were one of the key features at the Salone Nautica di Venezia, held at the Arsenale from 18th to 23rd June. The two waterbus companies, Alilaguna and ACTV each displayed a hybrid-electric prototype able to handle the relentless 24/24 hr tourist demand. The latter has decided to build an initial batch of 35 of these during the next two years to replace their noisy-smoky-diesel versions. Alongside Vizianello’s HEPIC fuel-cell waterbus and their Nuvolari-designed “retro-look” hybrid-electric water taxi, were three electric workboats also built locally by Veritas, Amadi and VeniceGoGreen’s Cargo31 for the City’s Chamber of Commerce. Also present were e-boats from Transfluid, solar-assist Nauma-Tec, X-Shore (Sweden) and Q-Yachts (Finland). The Italian Powerboat Racing Federation showed an uncompleted prototype of a Formula-E circuit raceboat. In this way, many thousands of Venetian and Italian visitors discovered the “electric boat”. Officially opening the event, both Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, President of the Italian Senate, then Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro spoke about a green sustainability for future generations and declared that in the future the only type of boat in Venice would be electric. Brugnaro also bought Ca’Farseti, the Transfluid hybrid electric wooden cabin runabout for the Municipality, stating “Soon there will be real possibilities to convert the boats and then we will think about the regulations with the various categories: to pass at certain times and in certain places you must have the electric.” Talking of the ACTV and Alilaguna hybrid waterbuses, he added “One of these days we have a race: we have two solutions, we can say that surely all the boats will become hybrids and in our Grand Canal they will go electric.” The issue of replacing the many hundreds of privately owned petrol outboard boats has still to be addressed.
Also during the event, VeniceAgenda2028 in association with Inland Waterways International and Assonautica Venezia developed their plan “Zero Emission Lakeside Festival” for June 2020. This will include the four-discipline E-Regatta (a Venetian word) and “Noi Siamo Electriche!”, an electric boat procession along the city’s Grand Canal. The official presentation of this will take place in October 2019. OtherEuropean parties expressed an interest in holding e-Regattas on Lake Annecy (Fr), Lake Como, Lake Bracciano and Brindisi (Italy) and Lake Beloton (Hungary) – an embryonic championship and new sport.
VeniceAgenda2028 announced that the Foundation of His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco had decided to accompany them in this voyage. A decision was also made by Vela representing the City of Venice to hold two Electric Water Taxi E-Regattas, including a six hour endurance trial, one on Lake Como and the other in the Arsenale during the 2020 Boat Show.