Quiet cruising by sun

Laura Iisalo


Alster-Touristik-GmbH (ATG) specified great design and low-maintenance as their top requirements when preparing to introduce Germany’s first solar-powered tourist boat.


Stainless steel doesn’t require protective coating or regular restoration, which makes it timeless and easy to maintain.


Forty tonnes of stainless steel was required to construct the vessel.

A 26.5-meters-long solar-powered leisure boat was taken into service in 2000 by Alster-Touristik-GmbH, a shipping company with 150 years of experience in water transportation. Named after the Egyptian sun god, the RA 82 became the world’s largest solar boat, holding up to 100 passengers while cruising along the Alster river in Hamburg.


Fusion of technology and design

Forty tonnes of stainless steel was required to construct the futuristic looking vessel, yet it weighs only half of a 100-passenger steamer traditionally taking tourists on tour to view the urban Hamburg riverside. Fitted with chairs, tables and a kitchen, the lightweight, durable and low maintenance boat is an environmentally friendly design credible city cruiser, which leaves no traces of gasoline or oil to pollute the water.

The stainless steel boat is easy to maintain and resistant to corrosion, which saves on long-term running costs, too. An impressive looking roof made of solar modules provides enough power to reach a speed of five kilometers per hour. For speedier travel 80 rechargeable batteries offer extra power that lasts for up to 12 hours or a distance of 120 to 160 kilometers.

A solar-powered tourist boat on tour on a river in Hamburg, Germany


Emission-free transportation

One of the added advantages of going gasoline-free is the increase of quality in the cruising experience, which is why it's no surprise that the RA 82 has been praised for its silent gliding, impressive looks and eco-friendly intentions. The boat, later named Alstersonne (Alster Sun), continues its journey as an impressive case of a more sustainable way of travelling taking.

Local residents and visitors can enjoy the 50-minute ride to view the captivating architecture and urban sights of the city of Hamburg. Once on board the passengers can witness a graphic performance of light and shadow as the sun filters through the striking roof of stainless steel frame and see-through solar panels – a show so spectacular, it has won several design awards around the world.

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