The latest Island Class battery hybrid ferry to join the BC Ferries fleet is set to give its battery capabilities an endurance test. The ferry, which departed Damen’s Galati, Romania, shipyard at sunrise on October 11 and its now on its way to British Columbia under its own power. The vessel, temporarily named Island 6, is expected to make one-third of the 10,700 nautical mile delivery voyage using battery power with the main engines stopped; proof that the Island Class ferries will be able to operate as fully electric vessels once BC Ferries’ terminals have plug-in recharging capabilities. The batteries will be charged during the voyage by a diesel generator.
While this will be confirmation of the battery-hybrid system’s capabilities, it will not be unique. The three Island class ferries that came before also demonstrated the same capability.
The Island Class battery hybrid electric ferries are designed for future full electric operation, with hybrid technology to bridge the gap until shore charging infrastructure can be installed. Island Class ferries have the capacity to carry at least 47 vehicles and up to 400 passengers and crew, and allow for fleet redeployments and retirements of existing diesel-fueled vessels.
“It is exciting to reach this milestone in our Island Class project,” said Capt. Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ vice president, Shipbuilding & Innovation. “As these new ferries come into service, we are realizing important environmental and sustainability benefits. Electric propulsion is quieter, smoother and more efficient compared to the traditional diesel propulsion of the vessels the Island Class will be replacing, and these ships will improve customer service by adding more capacity and frequency of service. We’re proud of the steps BC Ferries is taking to improve the ferry system in coastal British Columbia.”
BC Ferries will take ownership of Island 6 upon final inspection at the Point Hope Maritime shipyard in Victoria, B.C. The arrival of the new vessel will allow for the Nanaimo Harbor – Gabriola Island route to be serviced by two Island Class vessels starting in 2022.
BC Ferries looks forward to officially unveiling the name of the new vessel and welcoming the ship into service next year.