VIDEO: Austal launches new range of high speed electric vessels

Written by Nick Blenkey
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First of class 46 meter Volta Passenger Express 46V carries up to 450 passengers and has a maximum speed of 25 knots and fast charging capability, with a range of over 175 nautical miles per day.

Austal Australia has launched a new series of Volta electric-powered high speed ferries, with the first design offered being the fully electric 46-meter Passenger Express 46V.

Austal says the Volta series differs from existing, electric-powered vessels “by going beyond the replacement of diesel engines with an electric (battery) power plant, to offer a completely integrated design, construction and support solution – including on-shore charging infrastructure and in-service support programs for operators.”

Volta series vessels combine all new, light-weight, low-resistance hull forms, specifically designed, tested and optimized for electric-power propulsion, with state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries. Austal offers operators a fully customized design and turnkey solution, taking into account passenger numbers, vessel schedules and charging infrastructure.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said the new Volta series of high speed ferries represents the future of commercial maritime transport, offering operators a cost-effective electric-powered vessel; capable of zero emissions, lower operating costs, a quieter and more comfortable ride, and outstanding reliability.

“For any high speed vessel and even more so for electric-powered ferries, optimizing vessel weight and performance is essential – driving not just operating costs, but the size and upfront purchase cost of the batteries and the charging system,” said Gregg. “With Austal’s unique Volta series of custom designed and built vessels, customers may achieve a lower total cost of ownership without compromising on performance or capability. Operators can reliably and profitably sail on schedule all day, every day.”

He added that the Volta series also future-proofs an operators’ fleet by introducing “green” technology that already meets widely anticipated, low or zero-emission targets for public transport vehicles and operators, worldwide.”

Austal has drawn upon its own experience and expertise in high-speed craft design, construction and support, and collaborated with industry leading electric technology partners from around the world, to develop the Volta series over the past two years.

The first of class, 46 meter Passenger Express 46V is a high speed passenger ferry, designed to provide an environmentally friendly, economical vessel suited for metropolitan, inland waterway commuter ferry services. Carrying up to 450 passengers, it has a maximum speed of 25 knots and fast charging capability, with a range of over 175 nautical miles per day.

The design features a natural, light filled interior enabled by large, panoramic windows and generous skylights, positioned along the entire length of the cabin. Double automatic-sliding external doors provide direct, easy access to the passenger deck for fast passenger turnarounds that match or better the rapid battery-charging times offered by the fully integrated, shore-based battery charging infrastructure.

Austal plans to expand the Volta series through the development of additional models for both commercial and defense applications, including autonomous vessels; and continue research and development into emerging propulsion technology, to deliver zero emission marine solutions globally.


  • Length overall – 46 meters
  • Beam – 12.3 meters
  • Draft < 2 meters


  • 2 x Full electric, permanent magnet motors
  • 2 x FPP, or CPP propellers (Waterjet or Azimuth also available)


  • Full redundancy with 2 lithium battery banks (one in each hull)
  • Minimum battery life of 7 years


  • Passengers – 400 to 450
  • Bicycles – 10
  • Crew – 3


  • Operating speed – 20kts
  • Maximum speed – 25+kts
  • Maximum range per day >175 nm per day with 20% reserve
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