Kochi-based solar-electric boat manufacturer Navalt Solar and Electric Boats has received its first export order. It received the order worth $650,000 (nearly ₹5 crore) from Maldives.

Maldives will use the 20 meters long and 7 meters wide ferry for inter-island passenger transport. 

The boat’s 40 kW motor will be powered by a 40kWh (LFP or LTO) battery, which can be charged either with grid power or, at least partly, with a 20kW solar panel on the roof. Navalt has been selling boats since 2009, while it has been selling Aditya ferries for six years.

In a chat with businessline , Navalt’s Founder-CEO Sandith Thandasherr said the company’s Aditya boats have so far ferried 2 million passengers and saved 2,00,000 liters of diesel. 

All of the company’s 20-odd boats, which include ferries, cruises, fishing boats, luxury vessels and even a ro-ro, are powered by batteries that can be partly charged by solar power. 

Thandasherry said the company has orders for 35 boats that are worth $10 million (₹80 crore). He was in Chennai to take part in Climafix Summit 2022, a conference organised by the Chennai-based consultancy Energy Alternatives India (EAI) and IIT-Madras Research Park to bring together climate-tech start-ups and financiers.  

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Among the boats that are currently being built are two ro-ros—boats into which you can drive your car or a truck, and drive out upon reaching your destination. These boats, named Kraken, are 80-ton, 45 meters vessels that can accommodate 40 cars or four 40-ft trailers. Each costs ₹10 crore and are being built for the government of Kerala. They come with a 40kW rooftop solar panel and the batteries have a range of 40 kilometers. 

On carbon credits for its customers, Thandasherry said Navalt has hired a consultant to explore this option. 

Lack of government support 

In response to a question, Thandasherry said the company has received ‘zero support’ while the State governments are at least buying some boats. 

He said that a few years back, Amitabh Kant, the then CEO of NITI Aayog, had assured him that solar boats would be included in the FAME-II—a scheme that incentivises production of electric vehicles. However, nothing has happened so far, he added.