Solar electric kayak to make first expedition through Northwest Passage

GURNEE, Ill. – This summer, eco-adventurer Raphaël Domjan intends to travel the Northwest Passage along the northern coast of North America from the Pacific to the Atlantic with an electric kayak, propelled by an Ultralight 403 from Torqeedo.

Domjan hit the international headlines back in May 2012. The Swiss engineer circumnavigated the Earth for the first time in a solar-propelled catamaran, Planet Solar. His latest goal is to master the Northwest Passage. Domjan, who will be accompanied by the kayak-adventurer Anne Quéméré, faces a journey of more than 1,800 miles.

Embarking in June 2015, it will be the first solar expedition through the legendary Northwest Passage. The 43-year-old's expedition, SolarArcticPassage, will take the route discovered by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen in 1895. The goal is 100 kilometers, about 63 miles, a day.

Sunlight is less intense in the Arctic than at any other place on earth, but that is exactly why Domjan will conduct the expedition: to demonstrate that solar electric-powered mobility is possible anywhere on the planet. Despite the difficulties, the Arctic offers one important advantage – during the summer the Arctic Circle remains light for over 20 hours a day. The solar energy gained from the small surface of the kayak nevertheless remains extremely precious.

That is why Domjan has chosen the Ultralight 403 drive system from Torqeedo. Weighing 16 pounds, including the battery, the company claims the Ultralight is the world's lightest outboard in serial production. In addition, it converts limited energy supply into propulsive power extremely efficiently. The photovoltaic modules mounted on the kayak feed the Ultralight's lithium batteries, which, in turn, supply the motor with its energy.

The starting point for the solar expedition is the small Canadian settlement of Tuktoyaktuk. If Domjan succeeds, he will be the first person to traverse the Northwest Passage in an electric-powered kayak when he reaches the settlement at Pond Inlet in September 2015. His full route can be seen at

For more information on Torqeedo, please visit

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