Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. (KEPCO) and e5 Lab Inc. have formed a business partnership to develop and promote the use of pure electric vessels in the Kansai Bay area.
Called the Kansai Urban Water Mobility Project, the partnership has been formed as the Japanese shipping industry faces issues such as eliminating GHG emissions from vessels and a shortage of skilled seafarers. To address these issues, development of electric vesse; technology and autonomous navigation systems is seen as imperative. There is also a need to develop public transportation options in preparation for the Osaka/Kansai Expo in 2025.
e5 will be responsible for the planning and development of next-generation electric vessels that improve comfort levels by reducing noise and vibration through electrification and that feature highly flexible architecture and interior design to meet customer needs.
KEPCO will develop a bidirectional wireless charge/discharge system for the large-capacity storage batteries to be installed on the electric vessels.
Longer term, the project aims to offer and sell new mobility services using the electric vessel technology and charge/discharge systems to local governments and corporations.