Wellington to get first fully electric ferry
May 27, 2019
The Southern Hemisphere’s first completely electric passenger ferry will be in Wellington waters by December.
East by West Ferries managing director Jeremy Ward said the ferry was a step towards a fully electric ferry service.“We are anticipating to have it in the water by this Christmas.”
“It is unique, and it’s leading the field in sustainable transport. It’s new technology.”
The ferry will run on the Queen’s Wharf to Days Bay route on Wellington harbour with the capacity to carry 135 passengers, traveling at speeds of up to 20 knots or 37 kilometres per hour.
East by West is building the ferry in Seaview through its boat building company Wellington Electric Boat Building.
The ferry was being built from carbon fibre rather than the usual materials of alloy or glass over plywood and will be 18.5 metres long.
Electric engines can run for much longer than diesel engines as there are not as many moving parts. No gearbox means that they will also run much more quietly.
The cost of building the vessel was double that of a conventional ferry service, but Ward said the costs of running it should be 20 percent of the cost of running a diesel ferry engine.
Wellington Electric Boat Building managing director Fraser Foote said the boat was being built in phases with six people working on it.
“One of the major processes is weight control. We’re trying to build each part to specific weight requirements, which is quite difficult.”
Foote previously owned Northland Contract Boat Builders Ltd and had contracted to the Oracle America’s Cup team.