Austal launches Volta series of electric-powered high-speed Ferries

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Austal Australia has launched the VOLTA series of electric-powered high speed ferry solutions, with the introduction of the Passenger Express 46V, a fully electric-powered 46 metre catamaran ferry design.

Austal’s new VOLTA series is distinct from existing, electric-powered vessels in the marketplace 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 optimised for electric-power propulsion, with state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries. Austal provides operators with a fully customised design and ‘turnkey’ solution, taking into account passenger numbers, vessel schedules and charging infrastructure.

(Image Courtesy: Austal)

Austal Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the new VOLTA series of high speed ferries represent 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, optimising 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.

“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,” Gregg said.

“Austal’s VOLTA series also future-proofs an operators’ fleet by introducing environmentally friendly, ‘green’ technology that already meets widely anticipated, low or zero-emission targets for public transport vehicles and operators, worldwide.”

Austal drew upon the company’s own vast experience and expertise in innovative, high-speed craft design, construction and support – and collaborated with industry leading electric technology partners from around the world – to develop the VOLTA series of electric-powered ferries over the past two years.

The first of class, 46 metre ‘Passenger Express 46V’ is a high speed passenger ferry, designed to provide an environmentally friendly, economical vessel ideal for metropolitan, inland waterway commuter ferry services. Boasting a capacity of up to 450 passengers, a maximum speed of 25 knots and fast charging capability, with a range of over 175 nautical miles per day, the Passenger Express 46V highlights the real advantages of the VOLTA design technology.

The vessel’s striking, modern 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 succinct 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 defence applications, including autonomous vessels; and continue research and development into emerging propulsion technology, to deliver zero-emission marine solutions globally.

PRINICIPAL PARTICULARS – AUSTAL PASSENGER EXPRESS 46V

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

PROPULSION     

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

BATTERIES  

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

PAYLOAD AND CAPACITIES

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

PERFORMANCE

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

Sea News, January 20

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra

Associate Editor, Sea News