As a tourist boat called the Berlin glides down Amsterdam’s Singelgracht, guide Emiliano Fernandez reels off the history of the majestic Rijksmuseum alongside the tree-lined canal. On the tour company’s other vessels, he would be competing with the rumble and fumes of a diesel engine. But since the Berlin hit the water with its electric motor two years ago, he’s been able to speak more softly. “It’s so quiet inside,” Fernandez enthuses.
While green-leaning consumers and investors focus on automakers such as Tesla, Nissan, and BMW, industries from ships and trains to mining and construction are also poised to shift away from fossil fuels. Those are the businesses that Kees Koolen, chairman of Lithium Werks BV, the Dutch company that made the batteries for the Berlin, intends to serve. “We want to work on the electrification of everything that isn’t cars and consumer electronics,” he says. “Those markets are already saturated, and we see a big opportunity beyond them.”