Auckland’s electric ferries set to transform urban transport

Posted: 12 December 2023 | | No comments yet

Auckland Transport’s strategic adoption of electric ferries marks a significant milestone in the city’s commitment to sustainable transportation, heralding a new era of eco-friendly mobility on its water routes.

Auckland's electric ferries set to transform urban transport

Credit: Auckland Transport

Auckland Transport (AT) has announced that it has awarded the contract to supply a megawatt-level charging system for its incoming electric ferries to technology company ABB. The initiative is part of AT’s Mission Electric, a comprehensive plan to invest in low emission transport options and reduce the environmental impact of public transportation.

Over the next few years, Auckland’s ferry fleet will welcome the addition of the first two fully electric and two electric-hybrid ferries, marking a significant step towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly public transport system. The city is poised to boast the largest electric ferry fleet in the Southern Hemisphere by 2030.

“Each charger will be capable of supplying over three megawatts of power, allowing the ferries to quickly top up between journeys. They will charge for five to 10 minutes during passenger boardings, meaning we can minimise the size of the marine batteries and allow high vessel utilisation without long charging periods,” said Nathan Cammock, AT’s Low Emission Ferry Programme Director. 

In-Depth Focus: E-Mobility

The decision to electrify the ferry fleet is a key element of AT’s broader Mission Electric initiative, aligning with the electrification of the train network and the commitment to all-new buses being electric. The move is expected to result in a substantial reduction in emissions, with the new ferries being powered by locally generated electricity. This shift will help decrease fuel consumption by approximately 1.5 million litres annually, avoiding around 4,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Nathan Cammock further highlights the additional benefits of the new ferries, saying, “The new ferries will also have greater passenger capacity, improved accessibility and a more consistent customer experience compared to our current fleet. They will be owned by Auckland (via AT) for the benefit of Auckland.” 

In the interim, while the new electric and electric-hybrid ferries are under construction, AT is taking immediate action by overhauling and refitting four existing diesel ferries. The goal is to equip them with more fuel-efficient engines, providing an immediate boost to reliability and a reduction in emissions. 

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