Electric passenger ferry enters operations in Wellington, New Zealand

By Julian Buckley19 January 2022

Ika Rere electric ferry will help cut transport emissions Ika Rere electric ferry will help cut transport emissions

East by West Ferries has launched the Ika Rere, described as New Zealand’s first fully-electric, zero emissions passenger ferry. The ship will operate in Wellington Harbour.

The introduction of the Ika Rere follows research by the New Zealand government which found domestic ships, such as ferries and freighters, emit nearly 300,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

In Wellington, it was found 50% of emissions in 2020 came from the transportation sector. Introducing these new transport types will support local council commitments to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The 19-metre Ika Reye can carry up to 132 passengers at operational speeds of about 20 knots. It has been designed to complete a return run of 25 km before charging dockside using a 300 kW charger (1 MW/15 mins) as passengers disembark and board.

The new ferry uses a marine drivetrain system from Danfoss’ Editron division. Erno Tenhunen, marine director, said: “As companies, cities and countries around the world continue to set CO2 reduction targets, the demand for zero-emission vessels and machines continues to grow. Our Editron marine system provides outstanding efficiencies within a power range of up to six megawatts.

“It is also compact and lightweight, enabling space and weight savings and increasing design freedom. These savings ultimately benefit passengers, as operators can provide a greater level of comfort.”

It is anticipated that the ferry will cut approximately 640 tonnes of CO2 output each year, compared to a diesel alternative.

Jeremy Ward, MD of East by West Ferries, added that while the Ika Rere cost more than an equivalent diesel vessel, that will be amortised due to the cheaper running costs. This includes reduced energy costs and maintenance of the ferry’s electric motors.

The ferry will complete survey sea trails before entering the commissioning stage. This will include a series of public sailings. The Ika Rere is expected to enter full service by the end of Q1 this year.

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