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Home Destinations 700 ePropulsion electric motors helping clean up top China tourist destination

700 ePropulsion electric motors helping clean up top China tourist destination

by Staff

Visitors to China’s Li River can now ride in one of 700 bamboo rafts outfitted with custom ePropulsion electric motors that are helping preserve the tranquil beauty of one of the National Geographic’s ‘Top 10 Watery Wonders’.

The river is lined with spectacular ‘karst’ mountains, some of the most beautiful natural wonders in China, that were formed by millions of years of water erosion. One stretch of mountains near ‘The Yellow Cloth Shoal’ is featured on the country’s 20 yuan note and in 1982 the Li River (漓江 Líjiāng) was designated by China’s State Council as a place of scenic and historic importance. 

More than 125,000 Chinese and international visitors come each year, many of whom hire traditional bamboo rafts to get up-close views of villages where water buffalos guard the fields and rice paddies are still harvested by hand.

Those rafts were also once steered by hand, but in the past few decades the main propulsion has been ‘long tail’ motors – basically a shaft and propeller attached to a two stroke lawn mower engine that spews smoke, fumes, noise and oil slicks indiscriminately.

The propulsion elements of the long tail design have proven to be very efficient. In fact these kinds of motors are used all over the world in similar water systems like the Amazon in South America. The only problem is the fuel. And the Li River has had 2,000 of them in operation. Until now.

ePropulsion electric motors update long tail design

ePropulsion met with the local government to talk about solutions and committed to delivering fully customized electric propulsion systems that update and clean up the long tail idea. They have now been fitted onto rafts for a new, greener and cleaner era of boating.

The new ePropulsion electric motors feature a sleek, fully integrated design, incorporating a digital display screen, throttle handle module and cooling system. They also deliver an impressive maximum power of 9kW.

The rafts also offer a specially developed propeller design to boost efficiency and hydrodynamic performance as well as a large-capacity battery system to meet the long-term endurance requirements of the scenic area operation.

One of the aspects most appreciated by the local government and visitors is that they ensure the appearance of the bamboo rafts is not compromised.

power head of ePropulsion electric motors

The drivers also appreciate them. The motors are safe, reliable, and easy to use. Gone is the lugging of gasoline in jerry cans, the messy fill ups, the expense, the noise and the fumes.

The noise level of the ePropulsion electric motors at full power is below 60 decibels – about the level of a normal conversation, according to Yale University’s Decibel Level Comparison Chart. A power lawn mower registers at 107 decibels on the chart.

The quiet, clean electric motors are installed, the first bamboo raft operators on 漓江 Líjiāng have completed training sessions and the foundation is set for expanded future operations. Plans are for the other 1,300 rafts in the fleet to be converted soon.

This is not the first time ePropulsion has worked with local governments to improve conditions and efficiencies for workers on the water. In Zanzibar, a project replacing fossil fuel outboards with ePropulsion electric motors is freeing the area’s female seaweed farmers from the punishing cost of purchasing boat fuel and making a massive difference to their lives.

ePropulsion improves the lives of  Zanzibar seaweed farmers

Regarding the Li River project, Danny Tao, Co-Founder and CEO of ePropulsion said, “We’re thrilled to have played a key role in developing sustainable boating along the River Li. The beautiful landscape will be preserved for years to come with our ecological solutions, and our unique noise-reducing technology will ensure a boost in tourism to this idyllic and scenic environment.”

“As a leader in the global boat electrification industry, it’s an exciting and rewarding opportunity to work with Lijiang Scenic Area and others to jointly commit to protecting our water from pollution and coordinate the construction of green and low-carbon tourist attractions.

“The gradual delivery and use of pure electric sightseeing rafts marks the official entry of Li River tourism into the new energy era, propelling the project to the forefront of solving the environmental pollution problem of fuel-powered rafts in the region.”

ePropulsion in Plugboats  ePropulsion website

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