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Nicols introduces first electric boat to inland waterways cruising

The year 2018 will be remembered for a notable development in the world of river tourism and boating holidays.

Why you ask? Well it was the year that the expert boat builders at Nicols designed, built and launched their first fully electric battery powered boat – the first of its kind from any operator in Europe. After its development in the Nicols boatyard in Cholet, France, the boat would be available to hire for boating holidays in the Alsace region starting from the Nicols base at Saverne.


The new sixto green canal boat

At the heart of the electric powered SIXTO Green is fast charging lithium-ion batteries. This means that the boat is non-polluting and environmentally friendly. Even noise pollution is at a minimum due to the silent electric power. As with all Nicols boats no previous boating experience is needed. The levels of onboard comfort and equipment are of the same high standard that has made the Nicols Estivale range of boats so popular with boating holiday enthusiasts over the years.

bornes électriques exclusivement réservées à la recharge de votre bateau électrique


FAQs – How does it work?

>> What is the range of the electric boat?

The batteries within SIXTO Green allow up to six hours of cruising time if travelling at an average speed of 6km-8km. This works out at about 30km-40km depending on the number of locks that are on your route. On average, customers cruise for no more than five hours per day therefore you can be sure that you’ll have more than enough power for a full day!

>> How long does it take to charge the batteries?

Charging stations have been installed by our partners VNF all along the waterways. These terminals allow a fast full charge in less than two hours. While you’re charging your own batteries with a lunch break you can plug in and apply a full recharge!

>> Where can I charge the batteries?

Moor where you want, when you want! There are ten fast charging terminals that were installed by VNF along the waterways. You’ll find one on average every 10kms.

These fast charging terminals complement the existing charging terminals that can be found in the various ports on route. These in-port terminals are slow charging and better suited for overnight charging for example. 
Basically, you can cruise with the freedom of knowing that along your route you will have access to numerous charging terminals – some of which are capable of a super quick recharge.

>> Will I find a space to moor?

The ten new fast charging terminals are exclusively reserved for your boat! You are only allowed to moor at these positions if using an electric boat. Signage informs other boats about permissions to moor there so you can be sure of easily getting a mooring. What’s more, it is free to moor at these positions – we include this as part of your boat hire cost for the duration of your cruise.

>> Is my cruising itinerary going to be led by charging terminal locations?

Although our electric boat requires particular charging terminals you will find them in many locations – and a mix of within harbours and ports but also dotted in more remote countryside locations. Nicols requested this specifically to ensure complete flexibility when cruising. 

You can plan where and when you want to cruise – either stopping off for a quick charge or mooring for longer and charging up during a night time stop. 


A successful partnership

This ground-breaking project is a joint partnership between Nicols and Voies Navigables de France (VNF) who share the vision of developing tourism on rivers and canals while preserving their tremendous natural heritage.

Corinne Dufaud, Marketing Manager for Nicols, tells us more: "While VNF were perfecting a charging system and infrastructure our boat builders were busy designing a stylish electric boat – the challenge for both parties being to provide a solution that was simple to use, an efficient source of power and all while remaining sensitive to the waterways".

"The project is key to the future development potential of river tourism and we’re confident that over the coming years we will see more and more ‘green’ boats on the waterways – proud that ours was the first!"


Booking your boating holiday on board the SIXTO green 

The first of the new SIXTO Green electric boats will be available for hire for the 2018 boating holiday season. They will be operating between the Nicols bases in Saverne and Harskirchen in the Alsace region of France.

You can read a full description and see photos and floor plans on our SIXTO Green page. For prices and availability simply click on the button below or call our friendly team in UK on 02392 401320, or in France on 0033.



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