Niagara Falls’ famous Maid of the Mist boat tour is getting the first two all-electric passenger vessels constructed in the US. The new zero-emission boats are expected to debut in mid-September this year.
The catamaran-style electric vessels (pictured above) were designed by Propulsion Data Systems and are being built by Burger Boat Company of Manitowoc, Wisc. They will be transported to Niagara Falls this month, where they will be lowered onto the dry dock and maintenance facility to be assembled.
ABB is supplying the power and propulsion system for the new vessels, including lithium-ion batteries and an onshore charging system. After each trip to the Falls and back, the electric boats will receive a seven-minute charge to bring the batteries to 80 percent capacity.
The artist’s rendering above the headline shows what the new Maid of the Mist vessels are expected to look like, with a green-blue color scheme and a nod to their electric power on the hull.
Maid of the Mist first launched in 1846 and has been running continuously ever since, making it one of the longest-running tourist attractions in North America. Maid of the Mist President Christopher M. Glynn said,
“It makes perfect sense for Maid of the Mist to be a world leader with the implementation of this green technology. The new vessels will carry our guests to the base of Niagara Falls, one of the world’s largest sources of clean hydroelectric power.”
Niagara Falls has a history of electrification. It was an early pioneer of large-scale hydroelectric power, thanks to the help of Nikola Tesla. So Maid of the Mist going all-electric makes sense on a number of levels.
I’ve personally gone on the Maid of the Mist tour several times, and would recommend it to anyone visiting Niagara Falls. The new Maid of the Mist won’t just be better for the environment — it will be an even more immersive way to experience Niagara Falls, without the diesel fumes and noises.
Furthermore, a seven-minute charge after each trip means tourists should see no delays, as it takes at least that long for hundreds of passengers to get off the boat and a new group to get on board.