Auckland company EV Maritime is to receive government funding to develop electric fast ferry technology, aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions and transforming commuter/tourism ferry operations.

Callaghan Innovation’s approval of the $1.4 million R&D grant will enable EV Maritime to strengthen its in-house team as well as contract America’s Cup designers, fluid dynamicists and structural designers. The company was co-founded by Michael Eaglen, former CEO of Auckland shipyard McMullen & Wing, together with McMullen & Wing owners David and Terry Porter.

EV Maritime specialises in zero-emission and low-emission boats and its first project is a 24m, 25-knot, 200-passenger electric ferry – designed for commuter networks and tourism operations around the world. It is also developing high-capacity fast-chargers (dockside) so fleets can operate continuously without charging delays.

To help contain climate change countries and cities around the world are searching for ways to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Public transport is a key focus, with buses and ferries making up major components of city emissions profiles.

EV Maritime says Auckland’s relatively small ferry fleet produces as much as half the greenhouse gas emissions of Auckland’s entire fleet of 1,360 buses – vehicles already slated for replacement with electric alternatives. The company believes its electric ferries can offer up to double the emissions reduction per dollar of investment compared with electrifying the buses.

Electric operation, it points out, brings many advantages beyond the zero-emission headline. Near-silent operation and elimination of exhaust fumes promise to transform the passenger experience. A reduction in the number of moving parts also brings greater reliability – a key driver of commuter/tourism businesses.


There are also significant cost efficiencies, both in energy savings and reductions in repairs/maintenance costs and downtime.

At the technical end, the advanced composite vessel has borrowed engineers straight from the America’s Cup development programme to deliver a light and strong structure. Intelligent control systems will deliver precise docking control – providing augmented and even autonomous control. The hydrodynamic programme has also found significant efficiency savings and low-wash benefits compared with baseline reference vessels.