“World’s First” Electric Car Ferry Goes Live

MAY 22 2015 BY TDILLARD 10

As we reported back a few months ago, the Norwegian “Ampere” hit the high seas (well, the ferry link across Sognefjord between Lavik and Oppedal, Norway, anyway) this month, according to the Seimens story, and is running just about the biggest Anderson-type-looking connector we could imagine.  Size matters, despite rumors to the contrary:

Big connectors for a big boat.

Big connectors for a big boat.

This sits on top of the charging station, also big.

Big charging station...

Big charging station…

Are we the only ones cracking up that this high-tech marvel of the 21st century engineering still uses spare tires as fenders on the dock?  Just checking…

The boat uses about 1000 kWh of lithium on about 900 kW of motors for a top speed of 14km/h:

The cooperative effort led to the creation of a fully electric ferry that travels across the fjord 34 times per day, with each trip requiring around 20 minutes to make the six-kilometer crossing. The ferry, which is 80 meters long, is driven by two electric motors, each with an output of 450 kilowatts. Both are powered by lithium-ion batteries. The batteries have a combined capacity of 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), which is enough to make a few trips between the two fjord communities. After that the batteries need to be recharged.

The project also addressed the grid concerns we hear so much about in the skeptic circles.  Since the infrastructure in that area couldn’t supply such a huge load during the recharge period required, they use massive packs on both ends of the route, acting as buffers – accepting slow, steady charging over the course of the day, and allowing full recharge of the packs at night:

… The 260-kWh unit supplies electricity to the ferry while it waits. Afterward, the battery slowly recoupes all of this energy from the grid until the ship comes back again to drop off passengers and recharge. The charging stations are housed in a small building about the size of a newsstand. The ship’s batteries are recharged directly from the grid at night after the ferry stops operating. This solution is both simple and ingenious. “Under the prevailing conditions, it was the only feasible way of building and operating a battery-powered ferry,” says Moen. “Otherwise we would have had to expand the entire grid, and that would not have been possible due to the high costs of such a project.”

According to Seimens, one of the overriding concerns in this project – started with a design competition over 5 years ago, was noise, and pollutants in the pristine waters of the fjord.

Bow-on: The Ampere plying the fjords

Bow-on: The Ampere plying the fjords

In addition, the boat is a ground-up purpose-built design collaboration, with “Fjellstrand’s knowledge of energy-efficient shipbuilding and Siemens’ electric propulsion expertise”:

Despite its ten-ton batteries and capacity for 360 passengers and 120 vehicles, the ship is only half as heavy as a conventional ferry. That’s because it’s made exclusively of aluminum rather than the steel normally used in shipbuilding. The ship’s corrosion-resistant structure also means it doesn’t require the special coat of paint that’s used to protect steel ships against rust. Its robust aluminum hull needs far less maintenance, says Moen. That too lowers the ferry’s operating costs. In addition, the ship’s designers searched for the most energy-efficient systems available.

Now, the dedicated reader will likely recall that Siemens’ claim of this being the “world’s first electrically-powered car ferry” may be slightly, OK, totally exaggerated, but such is the nature of marketing in the EV world…  still, “World’s biggest Anderson connector”?  You’ve got to give them that.

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10 Comments on "“World’s First” Electric Car Ferry Goes Live"

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Oh, I thought it was a normal ferry for only electric cars. 😉

Speculawyer

“Are we the only ones cracking up that this high-tech marvel of the 21st century engineering still uses spare tires as fenders on the dock? Just checking…”

Reduce, REUSE, recycle.

Anon

Since the invention of rubber tires, they’ve been found along docksides for a couple generations now…

Very few things can replace the utility of an old tire, for keeping big boats from damaging either the ship or the dock. And old tires are a much cheaper alternative than marine ship bumpers.

wavelet

The Siemens story is a bit confusing. When is the ship recharged from the dockside buffer batteries, and when “directly from the grid at night”? Can the ship do multiple crossings on a charge (say, 2, in an emergency, if one buffer battery dies)?

Why don’t they mention Rolls Royce, who according to the earlier InsideEVs story makes the actual propulsion system?

Brian

The batteries have a combined capacity of 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), which is enough to make a few trips between the two fjord communities. After that the batteries need to be recharged.

Hugo Hvidsten

Here’s a Google translated version of a Norwegian article that explains a bit more.

The short story is that all the on-board systems work just fine, but they have had some problems with optimizing the short 10 minute docking to get as much charge as possible.

Their aim seem to be to fill up as much as possible between each run, and then top the battery up completely at night time.

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=no&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=no&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tu.no%2Findustri%2F2015%2F05%2F13%2Fna-lader-batterifergen-mer-enn-hun-trenger&edit-text=

Stephen Hodges

It was probably intentional, but I did wince at the thought of a metal boat with giant batteries “live” as in the title!

Mister G

Awesome achievement we need more of this around the world.

An electric ferry opened up in 2014 here at Quyon Quebec, crossing the Ottawa River:
http://www.quyonferry.com/

John

I wonder if they considered supercapacitors.
The ferry could have fast charged them every 20 minutes, when waiting for the cars. They last much more than batteries and cost less (it is not necessary to store the energu of a full day, just what the ferry need for one run).