Published on May 5th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Ferry Converted To Electric Power Can Recharge Its Batteries In Just 10 Minutes

May 5th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2.


The Tesla Supercharger may have some Swedish competition. A 75-foot ferry converted to electric power can recharge its 180 kWh battery in just ten minutes. It may not set any speed records with forward motion limited to an average of just 9 knots, but the quiet nature of electric motors makes up for the lack of speed in a city like Stockholm, which is spread out across 14 islands.

As you can imagine, this makes ferry travel important to the local economy, and efforts to build greener boats is starting to take off. The conversion of the Movitz is the first of its kind, replacing the massive diesel engine with a pair of 125 kW electric motors mounted to the side of the boat. This has the added bonus of increasing maneuverability compared to the stock arrangement, but the real star of this conversion is the 180 kWh nickel-hydride batteries.

Built by Echandia Marine, a local startup, the battery pack can be recharged in just 10 minutes, giving the Movitz enough juice to make its hour-long journey with just a ten-minute layover. The conversion is estimated to cut out 130 tons of CO2, and 1.5 tons of NOx emissions annually, though the real bonus comes from operating costs. Echandia estimates that its electric ferry cuts costs by 30%, giving ferry operators a huge incentive to carry out an electric conversion.

Save money. Save the world. What’s not to love?

Source: Wired

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • boB

    If they are really charging 180 kW-hours of battery in 10 minutes, that would be more than 1 mega-Watt needed for that 10 minutes. That’s quite a connection !


  • heinbloed

    Here one from Norway, a bit bigger and purpose build with a catamaran aluminia hull.
    Would this design be safe for ice waters?

  • Green Globe

    That’s sweet.

  • Rick Kargaard

    This is apparently a conversion rather than a purpose built electric ferry. I would think that a design specifically for electric would perform better.

    • heinbloed

      What would be the difference in design?
      Only the engine and the fuel tank (battery) had to be changed.
      The existing design is sea-worthy, tried and tested ship for public transport.

      It’s the tried and tested body design which makes a ship safe for public use.

      • Rick Kargaard

        Inboard motors might be one difference

    • Ronald Brakels

      Doing an average of about 9 knots is not uncommon for many ferries, so I would guess they simply set out to build an electric ferry with performance similar to many existing ferries.

      • Rick Kargaard

        Yes, I doubt that speed is very important on these small short hop ferries. The ability to out power wind and currents would be more of a concern. The article did not specifically say if the diesel engines were actually removed or kept as backup. It did say the electric motors were attached to the outside of the hull.
        Marine applications for electric would seem to make a lot of sense.

  • JamesWimberley

    The 10-minute recharge corresponds to a reasonable turn-round time for a small ferry. The obstacle to wider adoption is the low speed. Maybe they should try BYD’s iron-phosphate bus battery.

    • Calamity_Jean

      “The obstacle to wider adoption is the low speed. “

      Nine knots is a pretty respectable clip for a ferry. It’s 10.4 mph or 16.7 kmh.

      • A Real Libertarian

        Speed of recharging.

        BYD’s iron-phosphate batteries are know for being able to take fast-charging without damage.

  • LookingForward

    now all they need is renewables to charge the batteries! 🙂

    • Ronald Brakels

      The good news there is Swedish electricity is already extremely low emission with less than 5% coming from fossil fuels. That ferry is one not particularly lean, green machine.

      • heinbloed

        ” That ferry is one not particularly lean, green machine.”
        Mind that it has to withstand ice.

        Aluminia designs, Catamarans are leaner but useless when winter aproaches in Sweden.

    • heinbloed

      About 50% of Swedens electricity grid is based on RE.
      With further growth in mind.
      The islands and harbours at the west coast (Stockholm) benefit from international grid connections (Denmark,Norway,northern Germany) with even more RE in the grid, all growing steadily.

      • JamesWimberley

        Look at a map to find Stockholm.

        • heinbloed

          Right, it’s on the right side:)

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