Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Second WEBBCo electric ferry on the horizon for East By West Ferries

The efficiency of award-winning, fully-electric passenger ferry, Ika Rere, combined with the increasing interest we’ve had from other ferry operators in Australasia and around the world, has led to our client East By West Ferries bringing forward its order for a second electric vessel.

As fuel costs rise to staggering levels globally, East By West is reaping the benefits of the 132 pax electric vessel, with incremental route energy costs being slashed by 82%: a return trip to Days Bay on Ika Rere costs just $28 NZD in electricity, slightly higher than one Adult passenger fare. This equates to cost savings of $180,000 NZD per year when compared to their diesel boats doing the same journey.

By adding another electric vessel to the fleet, East by West will be able to run its entire existing schedule using the two fully-electric ferries. With greater onboard energy storage, a second fully-electric ferry is set to save the operator a further $280,000 NZD per year in overall energy costs.

“Following an in-depth business case, and with the success of Ika Rere, we’ve made the decision to push for funding for a second fully-electric ferry to be built by WEBBCo. We always knew we wanted to expand our electric-powered route capabilities, and with global interest in New Zealand’s electric boatbuilding, we wanted to secure a build slot for the second vessel. Ika Rere is performing exceptionally well, and we had no hesitation about continuing with our partners,” says Jeremy Ward, Managing Director at East By West Ferries.

The second electric vessel will be a sistership to Ika Rere, and run on the existing route between Queens Wharf – Matiu/Somes Island – and Days Bay. It will carry 132 passengers; however, it will be equipped with a newer iteration of battery technology, enhancing onboard energy storage. Both vessels will be charged at Queens Wharf, with the potential to expand charging infrastructure to use the newly released Megawatt Charging Standard (MCS), which is also being considered within the project.

Fraser Foote, WEBBCo and Jeremy Ward, East by West Ferries Photo credit: Simon Hoyle, Southlight Studio

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