Jan 30, 2019 Boat Business

SSC MARINE LTD has designed New Zealand’s first all-electric passenger ferry.

The company – a joint venture partnership between Kit Carlier Designs, Stimson Yacht Design & Naval Architecture and Tennant Designs Ltd – is geared to energy-efficient commercial vessels.

It plans to design the next generation of high-efficiency catamarans, building on the Tennant database and drawing on the team’s extensive experience.

The new 19m ferry has been commissioned by Wellington’s East By West Ferries and uses electricity generated from renewable sources. It will service the ferry company’s cross-harbour route.

The newly-formed Wellington Electric Boat Building Company, headed up by experienced boatbuilder Fraser Foote, will build the vessel at its Seaview premises. Construction will be carbon, epoxy and foam CNC-cut infused panels, engineered by Gurit in Auckland, with the lower hulls moulded using a materials pack from Gurit Asia Pacific.

Flat-panel construction minimises tooling costs, assembly time and reduces structural weight, all of which improve the electrical propulsion system’s viability.

McKay Electrical of Whangarei worked closely with SSC Marine to design the electrical propulsion and battery management system.

The vessel will have a 20-knot service speed and be capable of running three back-to-back 25-minute trips at the rush-hour peak, with dip charges alongside, before a one-hour recharge is required.

Carbon/foam construction, combined with a highly efficient canoe-stern hull form that reduces water resistance, allows the weight (and therefore cost) of batteries to be minimised. The vessel’s low energy consumption and low maintenance costs will repay higher initial construction costs well within its operational life, resulting in a higher profit per passenger per trip.