The Maid of the Mist boat tour has been ferrying tourists into the heart of Niagara Falls since 1846, first in steam-powered vessels and then later in the diesel-powered boats we know today. Now, the operators of the famous boat tour are preparing to modernize their fleet yet again with two all-electric passenger vessels that will be the first of their kind in the nation.
The catamaran-style electric boats were designed with the help of European technology company ABB, and they’re expected to begin shuttling passengers up and down the Niagara River in September of this year.
Each vessel will be powered by two independent battery systems that can be charged between trips in just seven minutes. The boats’ batteries will also be charged using hydroelectric power from the falls, making them true zero-emission vessels. Christopher M. Glynn, president of Maid of the Mist Corp said that the company is “thrilled to be the US’s first vessel owner to add all-electric ferries to our fleet,” in a recent press release.
In addition to reducing the Maid of the Mist’s environmental impact, the new electric vessels are expected to offer passengers a more pleasant ride as well. Without the noise and exhaust of diesel engines to distract them, tourists will finally be able to immerse themselves in the roar of Niagara Falls during their journeys.
Even for those of us who live just a few miles from the falls, these new electric vessels could give us an exciting opportunity to experience our favorite natural wonder in a whole new way.