BC Ferries has awarded contracts for four more hybrid electric vessels – and the ships are designed to be fully electric once electric charging technology has matured
BC Ferries continues to roll out its Clean Futures Plan and has awarded Damen Shipyards Group of the Netherlands contracts to build four more electric battery and low sulphur diesel hybrid Island-class vessels scheduled to go into service in 2022.
In 2017, BC Ferries awarded Damen contracts to build two first in class of the electric hybrid vessels. These vessels have successfully completed sea trials and will arrive in Victoria, B.C. by January 2020.
With the extension of the partnership between BC Ferries and Damen now confirmed, Damen will extend its agreement with Point Hope Shipyards of Victoria, Canada, to provide technical and warranty support for the new vessels with their local staff.
“Our Clean Futures Plan spells out our strategy to reduce GHG emissions by replacing our legacy carbon intensive fossil fuel-fuelled vessels with ships using clean energy,” said BC Ferries vice president business development & innovation Captain Jamie Marshall . “These next four Island-class ships are a major step in our plan to progressively lower emissions across the fleet and be a leader in the energy transition to a lower carbon future.”
The Island-class is a battery-powered ferry. When electric charging technology matures to make electricity available in the quantities required, BC Ferries will operate these new ships as all-electric ferries, using clean energy. In the interim, these ships will use an onboard low sulphur diesel hybrid system.
The first two Island-class vessels will be deployed on the Powell River to Texada Island route and the Port McNeill to Alert Bay to Sointula Island route by mid-2020. The third and fourth new vessels will service the Campbell River to Quadra Island route and the fifth and sixth new ships will serve the Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island route by 2022.
By replacing one larger ship with two smaller vessels on each of these routes, customers will receive a more frequent service, increased passenger capacity per hour, reduced vehicle line-ups, improved safety and reduced congestion on local roads. BC Ferries added that it also eliminates the need to consume more greenspace or increase the size of terminal holding compounds by moving more traffic through the same amount of space.