“Tesla Ships” – AKA Massive Electric Container Ships – To Launch Later This Year

FEB 24 2018 BY MARK KANE 47

This summer Port-Liner is expected to launch its first battery-electric barges that will run between Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Rotterdam ports in Europe.

Five smaller and six large container ships are under development in the Netherlands using €7 million in subsidies from the European Union.

The first barge is expected to start service in August. Because of the size of batteries, these vessels are being called Tesla-ships (the capacity remains undisclosed).

Specs for the smaller ships:

  • 52 metres long and 6.7m wide
  • can carry 24 20-foot containers weighing up to 425 tonnes
  • single 20-foot battery for 15 hours of operation

Spec for the larger ships:

  • 110m long
  • can carry 270 containers
  • four batteries for 35 hours of operation

According to the articles, the electric version has 8% more cargo space than its diesel counterpart.

Interesting is that autonomous operation is to be one of the features, although not necessarily from the beginning, nor on all routes.

Thousands of such barges in Europe will open another business opportunity for manufacturers.

Source: The Bulletin, The Loadstar

Categories: General

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

47 Comments on "“Tesla Ships” – AKA Massive Electric Container Ships – To Launch Later This Year"

newest oldest most voted

Why is there the word “Tesla” in the title?

For attention

because they are calling them “Tesla Ships”? Still no need to put it in the title.

I don’t quite understand what your issue is – the article clearly refers to the fact that because they are large and battery-powered the ships are being called ‘Tesla ships’. The use of these 2 words, with their quotation marks, in the article title is entirely correct and appropriate. Confused of Colonsay!

Seriously, IEVs? Are you now so opposed to free expression that you automatically censor (“moderate” in your Orwellian term) any post that contains “tiab kcilc” in reverse?

So everything exciting and electric is now a “Tesla”?

Well… back in the 1980’s, the same could be said about “turbo,” except for the electric part, of course.

It was so tacky and Turbo is a technology not a current brand or person.

Sort of like Apple’s iWhatever. Everything is an iSomething now. It’s called branding. A large part of the US calls all soft drinks “Coke”.

come on guys – not every headline needs to be tesla (and yes, it worked, I read it for the tesla headline, don’t care about ships at all but am invested in TSLA)

stop it plz !

I think the company that wants to build these ships actually calls them Tesla ships. So InsideEVs didn’t add Tesla to the name because of the attention. The company did.

Either way I fell for it too.

Do you have so little faith in the powers of cognition of their writers that you think they are not able to see that this is irrelevant? Whoever said it first, this publication choose to run with it for the headline. There’s nothing wrong with pointing out why this sort of behaviour is less than completely honest, and I do think there’s something wrong with defending it.

On the last cruise I was on the Chief Engineer told me that the ship burned bunker oil at sea. The bunker oil burned so dirty that the ship was not allowed to burn it within ten miles of shore. If the governments are really serious about air pollution and reducing GHG emissions they will have to do something about air emissions of ships at sea.

Hear here!


There is no government at sea. International waters are just that. They belong to all nations and therefore there is little to no regulation. Nations can only regulate and govern the territorial waters off their coastlines out to 12 nautical miles. This is why shipping and cruise lines will burn bunker fuel at sea because it is so cheap, but are forced to switch to much more expensive diesel fuel when within the 12 miles of territorial waters unless the port country doesn’t care about the use of bunker fuel.

Bunker fuel is really nasty. It’s basically petroleum waste. Left overs from all manner of things, like asphalt, tar and a lot used lubricants. When people think they are recycling their old, dirty motor oil from their car, most of it actually gets sold to bunker fuel.

Governments certainly are capable regulating fuel even in the international waters. As any ship has a flag and needs to come to a port at some time. Disallowing to carry any “bunker oil” on board is one regulation option.

It isn’t like nothing is done. E.g. sulfur limits are reduced from 3.5% to 0.5% from 2020.

But it is still ridiculously high compared to 15 ppm (0.0015%) sulfur for road fuel.

Yes, bunker fuel is a dirty fuel that comes after LPG, Gasoline, Diesel and Fuel oil fractions come out of refining.

Of late, governments are getting serious and so the shipping companies are using LNG (Liquified NatGas) and also Methanol which is an alcohol with 1 carbon atom and is a cleaner fuel.

Electric ships can get a pie out of it.

What sort of ‘pie’… steak, apple, pork, …??

270 containers? I just read a story today at forskning.no (a non-profit site about scientific research) where they were fact-checking a claim about a single container ship having “emissions equal to fifty million passenger cars”. In order to check the claim they looked at all the largest container ships in the world… which was defined as those with a capacity of 15000 containers or more.

So this “big ship” takes less than 2% as much cargo as would be needed to even classify as a big cargo ship.

(The conclusion, by the way, was that a big cargo ship emits as much SOx as about one hundred million cars, as much NOx as about three million cars, and as much CO2 as about 53,000 cars.)

I’m sure there are markets where cargo ships this small makes sense, and electrifying is of course a huge benefit. But it should be put in perspective; readers can get the wrong impression here.

Yes but there are only a handful of ships in the world that can take such huge loads. Let’s go for the low hanging fruit first

This is good news.

All of those Ferry’s in use. I used to take one daily and would have to stand in line to board while it ran and reaked of deisel fuel. Just breath in that carbon monoxide….

Note the article is about a barge, _not_ a ship, intended for local transportation between the main Dutch & Belgian ports. Not a major oceangoing vessel.

For example, sea distance Antwerp to Rotterdam is 160km, less than a day’s sailing at 10 knots.

I expect it doesn’t make financial sense to do this trip with one of the huge container ships — just loading it would take days.

Right, the title of this article is very misleading. Barges are not “massive container ships”! Plus, these barges won’t be made by Tesla.

There are only a few really big ships like this. They’re often over 300m long and carry goods solely on the ocean. Those electric ships are also quite big with 100m in length but I guess they’re not that wide. Maybe it’s usecase is more for rivers and short distances to distribute goods because those big ships just get to one harbour and then you have Semis, trains or ships to bring the goods around the country or Europe. It’s a step in the right direction.

Big ships are an ideal application for LFTR nuclear power. Safe, non-polluting, and low cost thorium power. See http://flibe-energy.com/lftr/

THE most expensive way to power a ship.

Thorium is literally free, and refining it is a simple low-cost process. It is also safe to transport as the native radiation is less than you get from standing in sunlight.

Thorium is perfectly safe, unless you are trying to use it in a reactor – which is exactly what you are trying to do. Eventually it might be the best choice for large ships, but we are going to need to get land based reactors working smoothly first. How we get anyone to build them I don’t know.

Evidence, please?

G2– depends entirely on the type of reactor.
Entirely wrong choices were made for political reasons 50 yrs ago. The usual story, where government is making decisions- eg Hinckley Point in UK.

Interesting. If everything is as positive as shown in the link, why is it not in production yet? There must be a drawback?

There are some technical details still to be worked out, but no political will to put money into it, except China. China is the only country putting serious effort into commercializing the LFTR.

In the US electrical utilities are under strange tax laws. Because they are monopolies for the area they serve their profits are limited, don’t know the figure but for argument’s sake let’s say 20%. Utilities are glad to embrace wind and solar power because they cost more than coal or gas generators and 20% of higher costs can be passed on to their customers so they make more money. LFTRs on the other hand will produce power at the very lowest cost so their profits would drop like a stone. No utility wants to touch it.

“If everything is as positive as shown in the link, why is it not in production yet? There must be a drawback?” Because in Western countries (and now also Japan), the various political and economic forces aligned against commercial nuclear power (misguided “green” activism, Big Oil, and the mainstream news media) have been so successful at promoting public hysteria over “RADIATION!!” that the nuclear power industry is now so over-regulated that it has become more or less impossible to build new nuclear power plants that can turn a profit. NIMBY activism, federal and State regulations, and insane levels of safety requirements have delayed or completely blocked construction, and have driven up the price of constructing new nuclear power plants to unsustainable levels. Making things so difficult that companies trying to build new nuclear power plants is, of course, exactly the political agenda of the groups opposing them. Sadly, they have been all too successful at blocking the only non-polluting, non-CO2 emitting form of power generation that can work 24/7 anywhere. This kind of over-regulation might actually be defensible for older designs of nuclear power plants, but for new and truly fail-safe designs which literally cannot melt down, they are hopelessly… Read more »

Tesla and many other companies are very careful not to purchase from companies that use child labor.

SR; you get an eye roll.

No there won’t be dead zones. The world is full of shipwrecks that contain much nastier stuff like explosives, poison gas, mercury, and fuel oil. Also, river (and near coastal) barges don’t go out into deep water during storms, and thus rarely sink. An if one gets damaged, they will lift it up to free the shipping line. In most cases the river is shallower than the barge is high, so it is rather easy to spot.

The metals that are in the batteries can be found highly concentrated in the deep sea on the ocean floor, waiting to be mined by an entrepeneur.

Did you know your gasoline is financing decades long conflict in the Middle East with horrific human consequences, not to mention the additional horrific consequences of burning it?

With regard to Africa and cobalt (to which I assume your comments refer), did you know that Tesla sources it cobalt from North America?

Ehm I bet oil catastrophes are much more worse because you have the disastrous effect immediately over a very wide areas. Millions of animals already got killed in so many oil accidents. A battery accident will be nothing against that and maybe there is a chance to to get those batteries back up from the sea ground.
Not to mention that oil or more likely the greed for getting oil is responsible for many conflicts on earth.

Excellent. Already China has a river going ship with 2,000 ton capacity. The foundation is already laid, its up to the shipping / barge companies to build more such ships.

BTW, how many motors does this ship has. Unlike diesel burners which use a single propeller, the electric ship can use multiple motors and adjust the power according to the load.

Here is the article on solar powered train in Australia.


In India, they have railcars with solar panels to power the lights and fans inside.

Fresh troll alert! Talking about you, SR!
How many and for how long has oil sponsored and caused wars all over the world? You want a ocean dead zone? Let’s keep dissolving co2 in the oceans and see what happens…

When I saw the news about battery-powered car ferries in regular use, I knew it would be only a matter of time before we started seeing small ships (and barges, like this) using battery power for short runs. I’m surprised that it took this long for things to get started.

Too bad that someone at InsideEVs felt compelled to give this article a highly misleading title. 🙁

Proposals have been made to power VLCC’s with a PWR. High initial cost but 50 kts speed possible v 10-15 kts would save hugely on intercontinental transit times & oceanic pollution.

Tesla might want to pay attention to this type of misleading naming. It is their brand and if they let others use it, they will lose it.

Obey till you’re free