Cars have gone green with the recent introduction of hybrids and fully electric models over the past decade, but what about ships that sail the seven seas? Large cargo freighters are, after all, one of the major sources of CO2 emissions around the globe, so it is nice to see companies do their bit to transform such vessels into a more efficient version. Nissan has recently introduced an energy efficient coastal car carrier known as the Nichio Maru which relies on a battery of energy-saving methods, ranging from solar panels to LED lighting, a low friction hull coating hull and an electronically controlled diesel engine that will all work in tandem to lower fuel consumption.

The recently constructed Nichio Maru began its maiden voyage on January 7, 2012, and is also proud to be known as the first coastal cargo ship in Japan that boasts of photovoltaic solar panels on board, totalling 281 solar panels in all. These solar panels are fitted to the ship’s deck, where all the stored power will then be used to power the LED lighting that are installed in the ship’s hold and crew quarters. Nissan claims that with all these features put in place, it is able to achieve a fuel reduction of up to nearly 1,400 tons annually when compared to an existing car carrier of the same type.

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