Waterjet manufacturer Hamilton Jet and marine engineering firm EV Maritime have signed an MoU to build composite, battery-powered commuter ferries
The two New Zealand-based companies are planning to develop a high-speed, full-size, zero-emissions fast ferry. Hamilton Jet will provide a high efficiency, high manoeuvrability drive for the all-electric vessel, incorporating elements of the company’s new electro-hybrid drive which was unveiled in June 2020.
Hamilton Jet chief executive Ben Reed said waterjets bring efficiency and offer precise control during docking and the ability to upgrade to automated control technologies in the future.
“Our jets are already very popular in high-speed ferries around the world due to their efficiency and manoeuvrability. This project is a great opportunity, right on our doorstep, to demonstrate how we can tune these aspects for electric-only operation in a ferry with a clearly defined speed range.”
Speaking of Hamilton Jet’s role, EV Maritime chief executive Michael Eaglen said “HamiltonJet is a world leader in marine propulsion systems. Not only for waterjets themselves but for intelligent electronic control systems, which transform vessel manoeuvrability, improve efficiency, reduce maintenance and enhance passenger comfort.”
While the electric commuter ferry is designed with the overhaul of Auckland’s ferry fleet in mind, both companies are eyeing more ambitions for the project. Mr Eaglen said the project is an opportunity for New Zealand to make inroads in the ‘green’ transportation sector and eyes significant long-term export potential for the product.
He added that ferries are an ideal application for electric technology. “Ferries come and go from the same docks. It means charging infrastructure can be installed at those docks and scheduling can be managed to share charging opportunities around fleets.
“There are plenty of harbour cities around the world with large commuter ferry fleets of 30 or more boats. The vessel we have designed is suitable for any of those major cities in terms of the size, speed and range required in most commuter ferry networks.”
Mr Eaglen said EV Maritime’s analysis suggests there are few inshore commuter ferry operations in the world today which need to use diesel adding “Quite simply, electric is better business already.”
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