Electric ferries have been available for years, but you don’t have see large orders for them (or any orders for them). Lisbon is shaking things up, though. It will be getting 10 electric ferries, with the internal muscle and brains coming from ABB.
Public ferry company Transtejo is putting these electric ferries into service between 2022 and 2024 as it retires non-electric ferries used to transport people (up to 540 at a time) across Lisbon’s Tagus River. In particular, the ferries cover three routes — from Lisbon to Cacilhas, from Lisbon to Seixal, and from Lisbon to Montijo (and back).
ABB is providing “a fully integrated electric power solution and an integrated marine and propulsion automation system,” batteries and all, for the ferries. The battery packs will have 1,860 kWh of energy storage capacity, a tad more than the 50 kWh or so in my Tesla Model 3 SR+. ABB’s Power and Energy Management System (PEMS™) controls the overall system.
According to the Maritime Battery Forum, there are 130+ battery-powered ferries in operation. Just assuming 130, the 10 for Lisbon would indicate a 7.7% increase in battery-electric ferries worldwide. The industry is growing quickly and I expect the pace to pick up. That source also indicates at least 90 new battery-electric ferries have been ordered around the world.
The electric ferries headed to Lisbon are expected to cut CO2 emissions by 6,500 tons a year, similar to taking 1,400 gas-powered cars off the road.
“Cutting greenhouse gas emissions are top priorities in urban planning. Today, the technologies chosen for fast ferries operating so close to the heart of the city must be clean and green, as well as proven in terms of safety and reliability,” said Antonio Pacheco, Director of GRP Division, Astilleros Gondán. “ABB has been selected both on the grounds of energy efficiency and its extensive experience in delivering all-electric and hybrid propulsion solutions to the ferry market.”
“Operators serving inland waters have been among the pioneers of zero-emission propulsion, and we are truly honored that ABB’s technology will support the sustainability goals of one of Europe’s great capitals,” said Juha Koskela, Division President, ABB Marine & Ports. “This project is another important industry milestone for zero-emission propulsion, showing that proven technology is available today to serve future needs on sustainable fast passenger ferry transport.”
We’ve covered electric ferry news since at least 2017. Here are a few stories from 2019:
- World’s Largest All-Electric Ferry Enters Revenue Service In Denmark
- Ellen, One Of The World’s Largest Electric Ferries, Has Battery Equivalent To 50 Tesla Model S Batteries
- Washington State Ferries — Second-Largest Ferry Network — Switching From Diesel To Batteries
And here are a handful from 2020:
- Wärtsilä To Design & Equip Two Electric Ferries For Norway
- Niagara Falls’ Maid Of The Mist Goes Pure Electric
- 1st All-Electric Vessels In USA Launch In New York — Maid Of The Mist
- Corvus Energy Awarded Contract For 5 New Ferries To Be Built At Holland Shipyard Group For GVB In Amsterdam