Having introduced electric buses to Gothenburg’s public transport system, Volvo Penta, ABB and Chalmers University of Technology are now working together to develop a network of fast-charging stations for battery-powered vessels.
The partners have commenced a one-year project, partly funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, which will assess the most suitable fast-charging technologies for this purpose. The project seeks to identify systems capable of safe operation in a marine environment, “considering the combination of high currents and saltwater”, Volvo Penta says. The company also stresses that “the final technology adopted will be open source, helping to speed up the adoption of electromobility globally”.
Last year, the three partners helped to launch two hybrid- and all-electric bus routes in Gothenburg, as part of the city’s wider ElectriCity venture (see Ship & Boat International May/June 2019, page 65). Naturally, both routes, managed by Volvo Penta’s sister company Volvo Buses, are supported by fast-charging stations. It is hoped that the partners’ prior experience of this proven technology will give them a head-start in this marine-specific feasibility project.
Niklas Thulin, director for electromobility at Volvo Penta, comments: “The commercial vessel operator of the future will need to be able to charge in a similar way from city to city or harbour to harbour. Infrastructure, standards and regulations are critical to accelerate this shift. This charging infrastructure could also be shared with on-road applications; for example, electric buses using the same fast charging solutions as electric ferries.”
Technologies offering automatic docking and wireless power transfer are among those that will be assessed, Chalmers University adds.