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Thailand

The region

Southeast Asia is home to over 640 million people. In the region, waterborne transportation plays a major role in everyday life and the local economy. Over 300,000 people use boats as a means of inner-city transport every day in the Thailand capital of Bangkok alone. Boats are also essential in many rural areas of the region as a means of transporting people, food and items.

Sustainable mobility concepts are both a prerequisite for the development of rural regions and a central component of climate protection. For many people in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, transportation on rivers, lakes or the sea plays an important role in their daily and working lives.

Together with the Swiss project developer ZENNA, the cdw Foundation is realising a technical proof of concept for an electric boat powered by solar energy in Thailand.

Challenge

In Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a large proportion of the population lives away from the cities in rural areas. In many places, water transport is of great importance for connecting villages to the nearest towns and the schools, hospitals and markets located there.  In Thailand, the traditional longtail boats are one of the most important means of transportation and are considered indispensable. They supply remote villages in the rainforest and even entire islands with food and other items.

A large proportion of the boats are powered by outdated, polluting engines. Old diesel engines are inefficient and can consume up to 25 litres of fuel per hour. Transport costs are often disproportionately high as a result. At the same time, the harmful exhaust gases pollute the environment and damage health.

Description

Together with the Swiss project developer ZENNA, the cdw Foundation is realising a technical proof of concept for an electric boat powered by solar energy.

The aim is to develop an affordable and competitive alternative to boats powered by the polluting internal combustion engines. The e-longtail boat should then be viable as its own independent business model for local players.

Result

In many areas of the world, more sustainable development and use of waterways offer great potential for local development and climate protection. Connecting remote areas to the nearest cities can strengthen local commerce and create economic prospects. As part of the tourist infrastructure or in use in fishing, the e-longtail boat can become an important source of income for the local population.

A successful proof of concept is a first step towards a sustainable mobility concept for water transport.