Austal launches new series of electric-powered ferries

Austal launches new series of electric-powered ferries
Austal’s Volta series has been launched with the Passenger Express 46V

Austal Australia has launched the Volta series of electric-powered, high-speed ferry solutions with the introduction of the Passenger Express 46V, a fully electric 46-metre catamaran ferry.

The Volta series will feature new lightweight, low-resistance hull forms designed for electric-power propulsion with lithium-ion batteries. The ferries will include onshore charging infrastructure and in-service support programmes for operators. The design can also be customised to take into account passenger numbers, vessel schedules and infrastructure.

“For any high-speed vessel, and even more so for electric-powered ferries, optimising vessel weight and performance is essential – driving not just operating costs, but the size and upfront purchase cost of the batteries and the charging system,” said Paddy Gregg, chief executive of Austal. “With Austal’s unique Volta series of custom-designed and built vessels, customers may achieve a lower total cost of ownership without compromising on performance or capability. Operators can reliably and profitably sail on schedule all day, every day.”

Passenger Express 46V will have capacity for up to 450 passengers and operate at a maximum speed of 25 knots, with a range of over 175 nautical miles per day. It features a modern design, with large panoramic windows and skylights positioned along the length of the cabin and double automatic-sliding external doors providing access to the passenger deck. The ferry is designed specifically for metropolitan, inland waterway commuter ferry services.

Austal plans to expand the Volta series through the development of additional models for both commercial and defence applications, including autonomous vessels. The company is also continuing to research and develop new propulsion technology to deliver zero-emission marine solutions.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
20 January 2021

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