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Auckland’s First High-speed Plug-in Electric Hybrid Ferry Announced

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

December 8, 2021

(Image: Fullers360)

(Image: Fullers360)

Aukland ferry operator Fullers360 announced a new electric hybrid fast ferry will join its fleet in 2023.

The new electric vessel with hybrid capabilities will have capacity to transport approximately 300 passengers servicing the company’s Devonport route, with capacity to travel to other destinations as needed. Designed by Incat Crowther, the vessel is a modular metro-level with overflow to the upper deck optimized to be up to 100% electric on the Devonport route.

Fullers360’s CEO, Mike Horne, says the business recognizes the compounding contribution traditional modes of transport, such as diesel vehicles, make to New Zealand’s carbon emissions. According to Fullers360, the new vessel will be quipped with a HamiltonJet electric-hybrid propulsion control system and will be able to reduce carbon emissions by 75,000kg per year on the Devonport route alone.

“Our vision is to provide New Zealand with the opportunity to build and operate the world’s first large-scale fast ferry fleet, supported by a fleet of hydrogen-ready electric vessels. The move to green ferry technology is a significant milestone in realizing our long-held vision and commitment to delivering sustainable marine transport for Auckland and other regions.”

New Zealand shipbuilder Q-West is scheduled to begin construction in April 2022.

In 2018, Fullers360 launched its Gulf2025 strategy that set out an ambition to grow a larger, more effective, and sustainable ferry network. The strategy provided the catalyst for research and development into electric ferries into which the company has invested over $1 million in the design and feasibility of sustainable ferry technology. The research and design phase of the project has led to broad reaching cross sector collaboration, including EV Maritime.

Fullers360 has been working with Auckland Transport over the last 12 months on the alignment of vessel specifications across the whole of the Auckland ferry fleet and in identifying infrastructure requirements to bring this once in a lifetime technology shift to life for Auckland.

Gareth Willis, Auckland Transport Manager Ferry Services, says the introduction of an electric hybrid ferry aligns with Auckland Transport’s requirement to significantly reduce transport emissions across all public transport services.

“This is an exciting milestone for Auckland, joining a range of other leading initiatives in progress by Auckland Transport that include New Zealand’s first hydrogen bus trial and the recent placement of Australasia’s biggest electric bus order through contract with the operator NZ Bus and increases to the electric train fleet.”

Incat Crowther’s Technical Manager, Dan Mace, said the electric ferry configuration was conceptualized specifically for the Auckland operation.
“We used vast network analysis experience from multiple global cities and applied this to realize the significant benefit of electric operation on the Devonport route, and the potential to bolster electric operation with hybrid power to extend the range for longer routes.”

Fullers360 said the newbuild is is the first step in a broader plan to replace its ageing diesel fleet with electric vessels.

“We take our responsibility seriously to conserve and protect the Hauraki Gulf and the natural life that lives on and within it. Green ferry technology ensures we uphold that responsibility, while offering unique economic benefits in significantly reducing operating and maintenance costs compared that come with traditional diesel vessels,” Horne said.

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