Ferry operator Styrsöbolaget is preparing to electrify ferries serving Gothenburg’s Göta Älv river as part of a project to upgrade the city’s transport infrastructure
Ferry operator Styrsöbolaget is preparing to electrify ferries serving Gothenburg’s Göta Älv river as part of a project to upgrade the city’s transport infrastructure, reports Gavin Lipsith from Gothenburg.
One of several ferries crossing the river, Älvsnabben 4, will be converted into a battery-powered vessel by Volvo Group’s industrial and marine division Volvo Penta. The refit is scheduled to begin in early 2020. Before then the electric propulsion system that will be used to replace the ferry’s diesel driveline will be evaluated in a Volvo Penta test boat.
The test vessel is smaller than the ferry but has the same batteries (four 50-kWh modules), controllers and electric motors that will be used on Älvsnabben 4. The batteries are connected via reduction gears and twin electric motors to two Volvo Penta IPS (integrated propulsion system) propeller sets. Heat exchangers are installed to cool power electronics while DC-DC converters will change electricity to a voltage that can be used on board.
The test boat took under four months, and tests in the water are due to begin, according to Volvo Penta director of electromobility Niklas Thulin.
“We are learning valuable lessons about designing battery rooms and new opportunities with weight distribution, which will give us the ability to optimise the balance and ride quality of vessels,” he said. “The electric driveline will have different dynamics compared to a combustion engine. Our objective is to fine tune these to improve the experience, but not make it so different that the vessel’s crew need to be retrained.”
The ferry will initially run a generator on renewable fuel to provide electricity. In a second stage the partners will examine options for charging the batteries through a shore connection. The companies aim to put the ferry in to service at the end of 2020.
Gothenburg tested the first hybrid electric bus from Volvo in 2004. The first fully-electric, battery-powered bus entered service in 2015. Eventually the city envisions multimodal transfer points with joint charging facilities for ferries and buses, with all vehicles managed by a joint traffic system.