Seattle-based naval architect Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) is supplying a hybrid-electric vessel design to local operator Washington State Ferries (WSF), which currently manages a 23-vessel fleet and 20 terminals. The vessel is a variant of boatbuilder Vigor Industrial’s Olympic ferry class, albeit tweaked to conduct crossings primarily on pure battery power, with the option to switch to diesel-electric propulsion if deemed necessary.
Vigor has been contracted to build up to five hybrid-electric versions of the Olympic class, which measures 110m x 25m and has the capacity to carry 1,500 passengers and 144 cars. The call for the hybrid version of this ferry type is part of WSF’s 2040 Long Range Plan, encapsulating a number of service and terminal enhancements – among them, a commitment to greater adoption of electrification. The ferries’ batteries will be recharged dockside at the terminals, as the foot passengers and drivers embark and disembark.
Construction of the five diesel-electric Olympic-class vessels will begin in 2020, with delivery of the first anticipated in late 2022. EBDG comments: “The vessel is expected to be the largest newbuild battery-powered ferry in North America.”