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Electric charging points network planned for canals

Published: Thursday 21 December 2023

Midlands Connect is researching the sustainable future of narrowboats, with plans for a network of charging points along canals.

The electric revolution is currently a niche proposition on the canal network, with only a few pilot trials, but in the decades ahead, electric-powered boats are expected to become the norm. 

Mains chargers are currently limited to marinas and some permanent moorings but by 2040, an effective network of charging points will be required to keep sustainable narrowboats on the move. 

Bharat Pathania, Midlands Connect’s Head of New Technologies, said: "All forms of transport are evolving to become more sustainable, and this will include our canals. 

"Our aim is to identify the building blocks which need to be in place to affect positive influence on the decarbonisation of our canals. 

"Securing a future where diesel or solid fuel sources are no longer the norm, will boost the air quality for boaters and everyone using these important waterways."

Midlands Connect plans to work with partners to determine and map the locations of existing chargers on the canal network across the region, and undertake a study of the requirements for a comprehensive narrow boat charging infrastructure in future.

The work will also identify mechanisms through which this infrastructure could be funded.