Arizona-based Colorado River Discovery, in partnership with the National Parks Service, is launching its 100 percent electric raft – the first of its kind in the region – in the Colorado River.
Named Helios in homage to the God of the Sun in Greek Mythology and both certified by the U.S. Coast Guard and registered with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, respectively, the raft makes its formal debut at Glen Canyon Dam along the Colorado River this week to coincide with the National Parks Service’s 100th Anniversary, which is August 25.
Photos courtesy of Colorado River Discovery
Helios provides zero emissions, exponentially reducing waste products on that could pollute the environment or disrupt the climate completely eliminates the threat of gasoline contaminates in the future. It will also greatly reduce noise pollution on the Colorado River.
“We are excited to join our sister rafting outfitters, many of whom have recently launched hybrid-electric rafts, in the movement to reduce emissions and preserve the Colorado River for future generations,” says Korey Seyler of Colorado River Discovery. “We believe in sustaining the Colorado River for future generations that will visit long after we are gone.”
Helios is powered by Torqeedo’s Deep Blue propulsion system, and the power for the raft is being drawn from a newly installed charging station inside the Glen Canyon Dam power plant, which provides a renewable clean power source through hydroelectric power and was completed in partnership with the Glen Canyon Dam, Page Utility Enterprise, Bureau of Land Reclamation and the Western Area Power Administration.
“Deep Blue is fully integrated propulsion in which all components are designed to match each other seamlessly, providing a unique experience in terms of safety, performance and range. This is also the first system to be used with more than two battery packs in the United States,” says Seyler.
Available by advance reservation, Helios can host up to eight rafters during each four-hour run and starts at $125 per person, with $10 from every trip benefitting a newly established “Colorado River Discovery Fund Research Award” at Northern Arizona University’s School for Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability. The award will provide the school with up to $5,000 annually for research projects directly tied to the program.
“In addition to what we’ve done with Helios, over the past decade, Colorado River Discovery has reduced its fuel consumption by 20 percent through proper training of equipment operation; exceptional upkeep and maintenance of motors; and development of new technologies to reduce noise and consumption of fossil fuels,” says Seyler.
The family owned business also employs a “Smart Green Systems” program company wide, which is focused on education, creative recycling and re-use programs on-site and other small steps that combine to make a big difference to the future of the Colorado River.
“Colorado River Discovery is focused on making environmentally friendly choices and respecting this national resource,” says Seyler. “And we do so through education, innovation and our own investment, which allows us to be responsible without passing added costs on to our rafters.”