In August 2001, the Thames Electric Launch Company set a World Electric Boat Endurance Record of 137 miles in 30 hours, non-stop on one battery charge.
The record was set on the Thames in Pike, a 100 year old 30ft launch belonging to Richard and Anne Leeson. Restored in 1997, Pike was fitted by TELCO with their Delta Drive, using the latest LEMCO motor from Cedric Lynch. Batteries fitted were the latest high-performance traction cells from Chloride Motive Power, whose extra capacity enabled the boat to complete the run with power to spare.
The record was set over a nine-mile round course on the River Thames between Goring and Wallingford, and the boat completed 15 laps at an average speed of 4.5mph.
The record was observed and ratified by officers of the Electric Boat Association, and has been accepted for approval by the Guinness Book of Records.
The purpose of the attempt was to highlight the advances made in electric boat technology, which can now provide silent, reliable power, with more than enough range for normal purposes. The distance covered was equivalent to the whole length of the non-tidal Thames, normally a week's cruising for most people.
The record attempt attracted considerable media publicity, with running reports on the local radio stations, a three-minute item on Meridian TV News, front cover stories in the local newspapers, and extensive reports in the major UK boating magazines. Local MP David Rendel started the boat off, and River Thames Waterway Manager Eileen McKeever travelled on one of the laps.
At the end of the record, the cost of recharging the batteries, using off-peak electricity, was less than £1.50, a tribute to the efficiency and economy of the motor and batteries.
The record was an improvement on the previous distance also set by TELCO, in 1997, when we covered 116 miles in 24 hours, in the 29ft launch Wagtail V, belonging to Paul and Pat Wagstaffe.