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China Launches World’s First Fully Electric Cargo Ship

Thousands of cargo ships zigzag across the oceans every year and, sadly, emit a significant amount of pollution in the process. However, shipbuilders are beginning to take note of the electric shift that is becoming popular for ground transportation and are starting to tinker with batteries instead of traditional engine options.  

China’s shipbuilders have successfully experimented enough, and it’s paid off as they’ve recently released the world’s first fully electric cargo ship. While there are already exists fully electric ferries and luxury boats, this is the first massive cargo ship of it’s kind and offers a new standard for the shipbuilding industry. 

This new cargo ship weighs in an impressive 2,000 metric tons. The colossal vessel measures at 230 feet in length, 45.6 feet in width and is roughly 14 feet deep. Taking in the size of it, one can imagine that the battery to move this vessel would have to be equally impactful. The battery capacity is around 2,500-kilowatt hours, which Electrek compared to as the same energy as 24 batteries from Tesla’s high powered Model S P100D car.  

According to Chen Ji, general manager of Guangzhou Shipyard International, the cargo ship could probably push its limit even further if the company really wanted to. He told China Daily, “Theoretically, the fully electric-powered ship could have more capacity in cargo loading. If it is equipped with larger energy batteries, it will carry goods of more than 2,000 tons.” 

With a massive battery capacity comes a surprisingly fast charge time. The shipyards where the cargo ship will be traveling to have large charging stations that will be able to charge the battery within two hours. This works out well, since the ship can be unloaded and loaded while it charges. 

Once the ship is charged and out on the water, the ship’s range will be about 50 miles. While most electric powered vessels raise issues regarding range, this ship will be operating safely within the inland section of the Pearl River in China's Guangdong Province. The cargo ship will be able to cruise up and down the river at a maximum of 8 miles per hour. 

The team who built this modern ship is the Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Ltd which is owned by CSSC Offshore & Marine Engineering (Group) Company Ltd under the China State Shipbuilding Corporation Group. The shipbuilding company has the largest base for navy support vessel manufacturing and has three factories in Liwan, Nansha, and Zhongshan. 

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