BC Ferries’ new hybrid ships are ready for full electrification

November 06th, 2019

Artist rendering of new Island Class hybrid electric ferries.

VICTORIA – BC Ferries continues to roll out its Clean Futures Plan and has awarded Damen Shipyards Group of the Netherlands contracts to build four more battery electric-hybrid Island Class vessels scheduled to go into service in 2022. In the spring of 2017, BC Ferries awarded Damen contracts to build two “first in class” of these battery electric-hybrid vessels. These vessels have successfully completed sea trials and will arrive in Victoria, B.C. by January 2020.

“Our Clean Futures Plan spells out our strategy to reduce GHG emissions by replacing our legacy carbon intensive fossil fuelled vessels with ships using clean energy,” said Captain Jamie Marshall, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. “These next four Island Class ships are a major step in our plan to progressively lower emissions across the fleet and be a leader in the energy transition to a lower carbon future.”

The Island Class is a battery-powered ferry. When electric charging technology matures to make electricity available in the quantities required, BC Ferries will operate these new ships as all electric ferries, using clean energy. In the interim, these ships will use an on board low sulphur diesel hybrid system.

The first two Island Class vessels will be deployed on the Powell River – Texada Island route and the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula Island route by mid-2020.

The third and fourth new vessels will service the Campbell River – Quadra Island route and the fifth and sixth new ships will serve the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route by 2022. By replacing one larger ship with two smaller vessels on each of these routes, customers will receive more frequent service, increased passenger capacity per hour, reduced vehicle line-ups, improved safety and reduced congestion on local roads. It also eliminates the need to consume more greenspace to increase the size of terminal holding compounds by moving more traffic through the same amount of space.

Highlights of the Island Class vessels include:

  • Electric power and propulsion system
  • Battery-hybrid power systems improve efficiency and reduces emissions during interim operations
  • The exhaust system reduces NOx emissions through selective catalytic reduction
  • Twin propellers designed to reduce underwater radiated noise
  • Machinery is vibration isolated to reduce underwater and ambient noise
  • Designed to be fully accessible without elevators, reducing energy consumption, operating cost and complexity
  • Vessel completely outfitted with LED lighting
  • Heat recovery system uses waste thermal energy to heat the vessel
  • Low friction and biofouling resistant full coating reduces fuel consumption
  • Comfortable passenger lounges and solariums for great views along the journey