The world’s first electric ferry will operate across the Sognefjord fjord in Norway starting in 2015. With the capacity to carry 360 passengers and 120 cars, the ferry will run on batteries that take just 10 minutes to recharge between trips. The design was developed in collaboration between Siemens and Norwegian shipyard Fjellstrand. After winning a competition organized by Norway’s Ministry of Transport, the project was picked up by shipping company Norlend, who have been granted the license to operate the electric-powered car ferry on the route until 2025.
The vessel’s shape itself was designed to minimize resistance in the water. In order to reduce the ferry’s weight, the designers have made the hulls much lighter than usual, using aluminum instead of conventionally-used steel. The 10-metric-ton battery powers two electric motors, and can be recharged in only 10 minutes.
Compared to the ferry that covers the same route at the present, equipped with a 1.500-kilowatt engine (more than 2000 horsepower), the new electric-powered car ferry will have an output of 800kW. This, with a battery power of 400kW and a speed of 10 knots, will be enough for the vessel to operate efficiently in normal weather conditions. Because the villages the ferry will connect have weaker local grids, batteries have been installed at each side of the fjord. The batteries will recharge the ferry during its turnaround and then themselves, using the power from the local grid.