When hire boat cruising company Nicols launched the Estivale Sixto Green early in 2018 (link to other blog), they introduced the first electrically powered hire boat and brought zero emission cruising to France. Launched only from its base at Saverne in Alsace, it sold out quickly and early bookings for 2019 are also looking busy. While the electric boats are just as easy to use, you do need to know how and where to charge electric boats along the route…
10 electric charging points
Powered by on-board lithium-ion batteries, the Sixto Green needs charging along the way. In an initiative that’s a first of its kind, Nicols has since partnered with the Voies navigables de France (VNF) to install 10 charging points. The electric charging terminals are dotted roughly 11km apart on the Marne-Rhine and Saar canals.
The result? Some 150km of inland waterway navigable by zero emission cruising.
Where to charge the Nicols Sixto Green
There are four charging points on the Canal de la Sarre
- Port du Houillon
There are six charging points on the Canal de la Marne au Rhin
How to use Sixto Green charging terminals
The Sixto Green charging stations have easy to use touch screen technology. The display and instructions are also available in four languages: French, English, Spanish, Italian.
It only takes 2 hours to recharge the boat and a fully charged boat will provide you with 6-8 hours of power. This is typically sufficient for a day, if not a day and a half, of cruising.
When you collect your Sixto Green, you’ll be provided with an access code for the mooring spots with charging points. As these are specifically for electric boats, you’ll have priority over non-electric boats at these mooring points.
Some although not all of the charging points also provide a water supply for refilling your water tank, should you need to.
Ecotourism on the waterways
The partnership between Nicols and the VNF perfectly demonstrates the VNF’s passion for fluvial tourism within the limits of considered conservation. Both parties understand the increasing importance of ecotourism to consumers. There’s particular appetite with holidaymakers from Northern Europe to reduce their carbon footprint while travelling and this appetite is spreading as climate change and plastics continue to top the news agenda.