KOCHI, INDIA (Metro Rail News): The first of the 23 fully powered, air-powered electric boats for the Rs. 747 crore Kochi Water Metro project was handover by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) to Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) here Friday morning.
The 50-passenger boat was called the Muziris – named after a place that once served as a prosperous port in B.C. – and is said to have been located in Pattanam, about 15 miles [25 km] from the city of Kochi.
Madhumita Behera, the wife of KMRL MD Loknath Behera, was the primary guest at the boat donation ceremony. Among those present were Loknath Behera, CMD for CSL Madhu S. Nair, GM for Water Metro, Shaji Janardhanan, Addl. G.M. Sajan P. John, directors of KMRL – K.R. Kumar and D.K. Sinha, CSL directors – Bijoy Bhaskar and V.J. Jose.
Four more Water Metro boats are expected to be launched in the coming months. They will join the first ship to make trial runs, especially in the Vyttila-Kakkanad tunnel, following which their commercial operations are expected as soon as possible from April. Each boat has a value of more than Rs. 7.30 crore.
Twenty-three boats will be recommended for another 55 small boats – each with a capacity of 25 people – in the coming years, as part of the Water Metro project.
It will be the first time in the world that an integrated, state-of-the-art integrated water transport system, which includes a large fleet, will run on batteries. Boats use Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) batteries – considered the most recent and safest in battery technology and capable of charging quickly. They can be charged for 10 to 15 minutes while passengers get off / board.
The boats will have a generator backup, which will take over their operation automatically in the event of any battery system failures, said KMRL officials.