#47 – A Tour of a Unique All-Electric Barge. Like Nothing You’ve EVER Seen Before

#47 – A Tour of a Unique All-Electric Barge. Like Nothing You’ve EVER Seen Before


Hello. Good morning. And today we’re going
to do a slightly different video in terms of, it’s not us travelling and it’s not
actually about us, it’s about a wide beam electric boat, which to my mind…I
mean, you know I’ve not seen any wide beam electric boats. I’ve seen plenty of
electric narrowboats, and seen videos on them, but I don’t know anyone…unless I’m
wrong and somebody might tell me… drop it in the comments below if you do, but I
don’t know anyone that’s that’s got a wide beam electric boat. And what’s
interesting about this boat it was built 11 years ago and it was
probably before its time or ahead of its time in terms of the technology. It’s
taking the owner Marisa are quite a bit of time, effort, and money to update it
and get it to the situation that it’s in now, where it’s now usable
and workable. I often joke with her that the boat itself looks like
the sort of thing if Jules Verne or HG Wells was writing a sort of
time-traveling science fiction novel from a hundred years or a 120 years ago, this
is what the boat would look like. Yeah, it literally looks like a sort of
steampunk Victorian barge that’s time travelled into the future and it’s got
an electric motor. and it’s totally openplay inside it’s not done in to compartments apart
from the bathroom. There’s even a submarine sink for a wash basin
and a wooden bath. Yeah. It’s just bizarre it really is the quirkiest boat you’ll
ever see, but she also has a water harvesting system so she collects
rainwater. Yeah, when it rains, and that is the drinking watered water for washing. The boat is completely eco. It really is ahead of its time. It’s a bit crazy, and she jokes that it’s got
60 horsepower but I asked her whether they were Shetland ponies or sea horses
because it is a bit slower than a diesel
boat, but then you know you’ll hear in the video she freely admits it doesn’t go as
fast as a diesel boat. And she could never be accused of not going past any boats too
fast Yeah, she’s permanently in tick over. So without further ado we’ll show you
the video see what you think. Oh, and we should apologise, there’s a
rather annoying hiss on this one and we’re we’re waiting for a new microphone
to arrive and this one it’s got a bit of an annoying hiss, so if you
could just kindly ignore that. Yeah. Bear with us, but I hope you enjoy the
video. I’m gonna take you on a tour around a wide beam all-electric boat and
it’s Marisa’s boat Predwin, and we’ll take you on a little tour about it and
we’ll talk to Marisa are about how the Solar works and all the different
equipment that she’s got onboard. and you can see the solar panels on the
top. And this is what makes all the electric power possible. Nearly 3000
watts of solar panels or 3 kilowatts. So, this is the only heating on the boat
but you don’t need much more than this. It’s huge!
How big is this? 9 kilowatts. so we’re on a wide beam electric boat which is quite
amazing. Tell us a little bit more about her and how old she is, and what
she’s like. Well we’re sitting aboard Prydwen which is Welsh fo fair face,
and she was named after King Arthur’s boat that took him to the underworld ,which
was a little bit dark. She is 11 years old she was built in Semington and put
in water at Sally boats in Bradford on Avon So a very local boat, and she was built
11 years ago, commission by a man who was ex Navy, and he wanted her to look
like an old coal barge that had been converted to living accommodation, and I
think he succeeded because I think people are often surprised that she’s
not an old boat. so this was like a real project for him.
So and he met with some resistance in fact, because she was built to be an
electric boat he was very interested in in creating a home that moved. All our
portholes came off an old cruise ship, our kitchen table is 1930s and came from an
auction, and our amazing kitchen he’s a 1950’s kitchen bought from eBay. And then he went down the further road
of what can we do to get water on board and of course we had spare
capacity because we didn’t have a diesel tank, so he came up with the notion of building a
rainwater catchment system for the water. So we carry 3,000 litres of water, a
total metric tons of water from the sky. We do have facility to top up at water
points which we do when we remember and it’s a really simple system. It’s
gravity-fed and the water comes down with the swim of the boat and then it flows back the
other way. And we’ve got good filtration systems and nobody’s ever had an upset stomach.
We’re drinking tea from it now. It has an electric motor which is
made by a company called Lynch in Honiton in Devon. And how many tons is she? She’s again
interesting in that the steel on Prydwen is 10 millimeter steel all
the way around, so you can dance on the roof, and she
weighs 46 tons. So, you’ve done lots and lots of additions haven’t you.
Have you changed the motor? Yeah, yeah. Because of as you say she
was ahead of her time and she was built specifically to be an electric
boat from the outset, and it was put together
it’s a Lynch motor but it was put together in a wonderful fashion which
was all a bit magic really, and that she had a golf trolley controller
which as everyone said would never go wrong, and we didn’t really have enough
power for me to take her out away from the environment she was in onto rivers,
which I particularly wanted to do, so the obvious thing to do was talk to the man
who made them from Lynch. He’s also now known by us as Trev the rev…
Trevor from Lynch motors. He’s been making them for 30 years and he’s so
passionate about his product…and I should say that I have the same motors
in my boat as the Queen’s barge. and he was really committed to it and came
out to see me and surveyed the boat, and between us it was like a joint effort as
to how we can make this work. And he and his colleague came, they were with me for three
days and put the motors in and then the next thing was to think about how we
could run a motor you know twice the size of the motor, with the same
amount of batteries and how would we get the power in, so this year we’ve upgraded
and we now have nine 300 watt solar panels which has transformed the
boat as you know. We don’t run a generator, we’re
totally solar-powered and we’ve been totally solar-powered for three or four
months now since the solar panels went on, Which was
about March or February. we’ve never run the generator since so
that was well worth doing, but because we’re solely electric powered and we
have 48 volts of batteries and 96 volts of motors there’s going to be a
limit to how much power we generate and how fast we can go because we’re not hybrid. The other thing is it’s hugely cheaper, much much cheaper
She won’t get to the speeds that a diesel boat will go but she’s still 60 horsepower. So yes, she’s totally solar-powered for the
summer would be interesting to see how we are in the winter. When I
first bought her she did have 12 solar panels on, but she also had a kilowatt
wind turbine which was enormous, it was bigger than me I would never have been
able to lift it. this is the larder, it is the wine cellar,
it’s the toolshed and it’s the engine room. That’s where the mangle lives and all
manner of other things. It does feel when you come in here as if
it’s like the beating heart of Prydwen, and it’s not doing it today but you’ve
heard it haven’t you, when you come in the batteries are talking. So first off, we have here our
power source is eight trojan six volt batteries and they are 235 amp They’re very expensive, they’re a
couple of years old and if I’m lucky they’ll lost another few years. A real
innovation this year, was we put a battery management system in and that’s
made a huge difference. So between the battery management system which is up
there, a solar controller as well, so we can see what we’re bringing in and what
were using. This is how we go forwards and backwards. You know, that way to go
forwards and you know that way to go back because it’s it’s very simple but
effective. And what did amuse me when I first moved on, here’s our electrical isolation switch which when you’re steering the boat I learned to my
cost, it’s very easy to nudge that and everything stops. Here is the Lynch swordfish
which is a 96 volt system it’s maintenance-free and it will come out after
two years and go back and they’ll clean the brushes and then put it back in. and
it’s quite a simple thing. What was the difficulty was obviously
making the new frame for it to go in, but because she was built to be electric
it’s quite easy to fit in. You see they can take these motors and slot them
directly onto the prop shaft so you can see how it connects there ,and the other
only other bit of kit to run her is the controllers. There’s one for each
of the motors here, and Trevor has been able to come back and recalibrate them
in order to so that I can go faster, and they’re great for doing that, coming
out and checking on it. So that’s all the space that the system takes up
is the motors over there and these two controllers. Obviously the biggest
piece is the batteries and that’s the the rest of it and that’s that’s the
whole thing

19 thoughts on “#47 – A Tour of a Unique All-Electric Barge. Like Nothing You’ve EVER Seen Before

  1. An eclectic and quintessentially eccentric and so delightfully British construct..in all absolute ways.
    That's why we had a global empire! Quirk and madness.
    King Arthur's namesake barque, driven by the same motive power in HM own 21st centuey royal barge, equipped and furnished with middle to late 20th century artifacts…
    An almost inconceivably delightful discovery.
    Long may such things exist.
    And it's precisely why all the other engineering and scientific nations on Earth ( especially our German cousins methinks ) will never understand our British unique visions.
    [ Disclaimer…my wife is a wonderful German woman so no offences are intended…it's just the sighs I get that explain it all ]
    I could conceive that if John Bull had been the first man on the moon, his craft would look precisely like this most excellent craft…only suitable for space of course.
    And the engine heritage makes my smile too… The first steam locomotives were hand crafted in the south west so naturally the master of adventures in electric narrow boats hail from the same soul spirit…bravo Mr Engineer.
    And Bravo for bringing this delight to your channel. .
    Lovely vlog. ..
    Love big wide boats. .
    Love your channel

  2. Lovely boat. I love this channel. Am I right in saying you guys have the only widebeam channel on youtube? . Keep up the good work. I love widebeams

  3. What an incredible boat! I would love one made of 10mm throughout- 4mm roofs always worry me slightly! And 3000 litres of water- wow, heaven! The open plan makes it seem so spacious. Have to admit I'm slightly jealous.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. "Sunflower" (by Thames Solar Electric) was the only other one I knew about, so its nice to know there are others.

  5. Excellent, I was looking forward to this video that you'd said you were going to do a while ago.
    I do know a bit about that boats history, as the couple that had it build used to have a blog (that didn't last very long) where they told the story about the problems they'd had during the build.
    They wrote that the shape of the hull was more or less based on the K & A tripboat "Barbara McLellan", it's good to see that someone is having a good time on her.
    Thanks for this video. Atb, Peter.

  6. Fascinating. I interviewed Dave from Lynch Motors in my Crick Boat Show 2019 video. I also had a light blue Daintymaid kitchen in a house I bought years ago. Memories eh!

  7. I think electric suits wide beams due to the extra roof space for solar plus they tend not to move much. As for cost an all electric boat cannot be cheaper to build and run than a diesel with current technology. The degradation of the battery bank would cost more than most boats spend on diesel. With such a small battery bank I doubt it would be able to cruise in winter without breaking out the generator.

  8. Very interesting to see this done. I'm an Electrical Engineer for my work, so we are just about to build a 65ft x13ft widebeam/Dutch barge hybrid as our home, which will be full electric (electric propulsion, heating and cooking). It's based on the same technology as my Tesla, so I know that the Lithium Ion batteries will last for years. Because this is being designed from the ground up, we will have 20 panels on it (14 on the front deck, 6 on the wheelhouse roof and nothing over the aft cabin, as that will be the garden area). 6.6KW is what it will produce on a sunny day, so it will hopefully keep up with the demand from the motor. In fairness, 1 hour of sunshine will run everything on the domestic side for 24 hours. To supplement the solar, there will be a 2KW wind turbine for the depths of winter, when solar output is only 10% of its summer potential, or when it is dark. There is no diesel generator or shore power for this, as it will be 100% off grid to keep it as eco friendly as possible. My main concern with the lynch motors is having to replace the brushes, and the overall speed that the vessel is capable of. Have you tried tidal rivers, and if so, is there enough power to fight against the tide? Obviously I could ask a Lynch salesman, but I wanted an honest unbiased opinion. Thanks 🙂

  9. Haha. I was speaking to Trev the other day (I am also Trev) as we are currently speccing out a boat with his motor in!! A 57' narrowboat though, so solar panels of that size are simply not possible. So, with a few solar panels, we have to rely on a marine generator (and shore hookup when in marinas) as well to top the Lithium batteries up (yes, Lithium, not the 2V lead acid traction cells Trev normally uses). Thus it will still have a multifuel stove, diesel water heater and gas for cooking, but it will have a proper (ish) 240V washing machine, tall 240V fridge freezer and other 240V, as well as 12V things like lights. The electrics are 48V, with the batteries made by me, and other gear from Victron.

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