LAVIK, Norway – What’s being called “the world’s first electric car ferry” will debut here in 2015, covering the route between Lavik and Oppedal, Norway, across the Sognefjord. Developed by Siemens alongside Norwegian shipyard Fjellstrand, and operated by shipping company Norled, the vessel will carry 120 cars and 360 passengers.
Power will be supplied by a 10-metric-ton battery with an output of 800 kw. According to a press release, when operating at the standard 10 knots, about half of that potential power will be necessary. The battery can reportedly be recharged in roughly 10 minutes while the vessel is being loaded at each stop.
“In the two small villages linked by the ferry, however, the local grid is not equipped to deliver such a large amount of power in such a short space of time,” a press release reads. “To deal with this problem, batteries have been installed at each port. These serve to recharge the ferry’s battery during turnaround and are then themselves slowly recharged from the local grid.”
The ship has been specially designed to fit the requirements of an electric drive system, according to the press release. As a catamaran with two slim hulls, it offers less resistance in the water than a conventional vessel. The hulls are also made of aluminum instead of heavier steel.
All in all, the new vessel weighs only half as much as a ferry of conventional design.
The vessel being replaced averages about one million litres of diesel burned per year, and emits roughly 570 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
The companies developed the electrically powered ferry for submission to a competition organized by Norway’s Ministry of Transport. As a reward for winning the competition, the shipping company Norled has been granted the license to operate the route until 2025.
Siemens says an electric ferry such as this one is appropriate for any route 30 minutes or less.