Renault has partnered with specialist maritime company Seine Alliance and electric propulsion experts Green-Vision to develop the first all-electric passenger boat.

What’s more, it’s powered by ‘second life’ recycled batteries.

Called Black Swan, the new craft represents the first step towards Seine Alliance’s commitment to have an all-electric river cruise fleet by 2024.

Due to go into service next year, Black Swan can carry up to eight passengers and pioneers the use of lithium-ion batteries that have already had their ‘first car life’ in Renault Z.E. vehicles.

After being reconditioned these cells are used to power a pair of 20kW electric motors that allow two hours of cruising time on the River Seine in Paris, while full charge will take just two to three hours.

Black Swan is based on an existing craft built by Italian firm Tullio Abbate.

Originally powered by a traditional internal combustion engine, the replacement ‘second life’ batteries are housed in specially designed, water-tight stainless steel containers that are located under the bench seats.

The batteries and motors together weigh 278kg, which is less than the combined total of the original fuel tank and engines.

As a pioneer and leader in electric vehicles, this project continues Renault’s commitment to sustainability and the circular economy, which aims to reduce energy use and the extraction of raw materials by the re-use and refreshing of existing resources.

Examples include Renault’s involvement in Smart Fossil Free Island on Porto Santo, Portugal, where resident volunteers drive Renault Z.E. vehicles that can feed energy back into the island’s electricity grid when not in use.

Renault ‘second-life’ batteries are also used to store excess energy produced by the island’s solar and wind farms.

So how (and where) do they charge the boat?

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Renault launches 'in-Seine' electric boat


Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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