Japan’s e5 Lab to develop standard series of electric ships

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Image: e5 Lab Inc.

Tokyo-headquartered e5 Lab Inc. has started developing standard models for a series of electrically powered vessels called ROBOSHIP along with an integrated system called the ROBOSHIP BOX, that brings together telecommunications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and software.

The team has developed two types of electric vessels in the ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0 series, one of 499 grt and one of 749 grt. They will be able to achieve the same speed and sailing range as vessels currently in service, while achieving zero-emission operation in port, using large-capacity storage batteries in combination with a diesel-powered generator.

Four Japanese companies — Asahi Tanker Co., Ltd., Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL), and Mitsubishi Corporation – formed e5 Lab in 2019 and the company says that the partners’ knowledge and experience will enable the ROBOSHIP designs to achieve higher energy efficiency than other vessels in service, using the world’s most efficient electric devices (DC grids, PM motors, AI technology).

The ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0 is claimed to significantly reduce seafarers’ workload of seafarers, while also lowering the risk of mechanical problems and decreasing maintenance costs, as the motors are powered only by electricity. The team’s current target is to keep construction costs less than 5% above the cost of comparable existing vessels. The ROBOSHIP Ver. 1.0 is slated for delivery within 2022.


The company and its partners will offer the ROBOSHIP powertrain and ROBOSHIP BOX to all interested shipyards and shipowners. The ROBOSHIP BOX is the foundation that connects the vessel and shore and enables shore-side support using digital technology.
e5 Lab and its partners will continue to develop and market the ROBOSHIP, fostering sustainable development in Japan’s ocean shipping and maritime industries and fueling the creation of new values.

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