East by West Ferries orders second electric vessel from WEBBCo

New Zealand operator has achieved a 82 per cent reduction in route energy cost with previous ship

East by West Ferries orders second electric vessel from WEBBCo

Simon Hoyle, Southlight, for WEBBCo

Fraser Foote, managing director of WEBBCo (left) and Jeremy Ward, managing director of East by West Ferries (right)

By Alex Smith |

New Zealand-based operator East by West Ferries has ordered a second electric vessel with shipbuilder WEBBCo, after achieving efficiency gains with its first ship.

The introduction of Ika Rere, which has capacity for 132 passengers, has reduced incremental route energy costs by 82 per cent. A return trip on the ship’s route to Days Bay now costs the operator NZ$28 ($18), equating to a cost saving of NZ$180,000 ($116,100) per year compared to its diesel-powered ships on the same route.

The addition of another electric vessel to East by West’s fleet will allow it to run its entire existing schedule using the two fully electric ferries. The second vessel is intended to feature greater onboard energy storage capacity, allowing East by West to save an estimated NZ$280,000 ($181,000) per year in overall energy costs. The operator will also be able to redeploy its existing ferries to start a basic service for commuters to and from the Miramar Peninsula, with the possibility of replacing them on the new route with electric ferries in the future.

“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,” said Jeremy Ward, managing director at East by West Ferries. “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 partner.”

The second electric vessel will be a sister ship of Ika Rere, and operate on the existing route between Queens Wharf, Matiu/Somes Island, and Days Bay. Like Ika Rere, it will have capacity for 132 passengers, but will be equipped with a newer iteration of battery technology Both vessels will be charged at Queens Wharf, and East By West is considering a possible expansion to the charging infrastructure to make use of the newly released Megawatt Charging Standard.

“We are glad to be working with East By West for a second time as they lead the way for commercial operators in New Zealand,” said Fraser Foote, managing director of WEBBCo. “Following the successful launch of Ika Rere, we have seen extensive interest from government organisations, tourism operators and commercial vessel operators seeking a more economic and environmentally friendly transport option.  We are excited about our next phase of growth and hope to sign contracts for an additional 2-3 vessels for organisations across New Zealand by the end of this year. With our new workshop space and expanding team, we expect to be able to build 3 vessels concurrently.”

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