A fully electric powered ferry is expected to sail in Norway's famous fjords by April 2018, its shipowner said Thursday.
The "Future of the Fjords" will be the first electric ship in the world totally devoid of combustion engines, welcomed the environmental defense NGO Bellona.
The 42-meter catamaran will be able to carry 400 passengers at a speed of 16 knots thanks to two 300kW electric motors, announced the company The Fjords, its future owner, at Nor-Shipping, a trade fair on the maritime sector near Oslo.
Already under construction at a Norwegian shipyard, it will be put into service between two fjords, including the Naerøyfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Yet a major oil producer, Norway is at the forefront of the electrification of transportation. It is the world leader in electric cars in terms of number of vehicles sold per capita and is also expected to launch next year the world's first 100% electric and autonomous coaster.
On Thursday, the Norwegian Federation of Shipowners unveiled new targets to contribute to the success of the Paris agreement to contain global warming: the CO2 emissions of the Norwegian fleet will have to be halved by 2050 and to be null in 2100, said the Federation.
The Scandinavian country with strong maritime traditions already has since early 2015 an electric-powered ferry, the Ampere, with a capacity of 350 passengers and 120 cars. But it has a classic backup engine, unlike the "Future of the Fjords", says Bellona.
Maritime transport "is a sector where significant fuel savings can be achieved through electrification with both hybrid and all-electric solutions such as + Future of the Fjords +," said President of the NGO, Frederic Hauge, to AFP.
"It is clear that the cost of batteries is decreasing.It is a little expensive today but it drops," he said.
The Fjords already operates a near-twin vessel, the "Vision of the Fjords", with similar lines but with hybrid propulsion (electric-diesel), voted ship of the year 2016 at the international maritime show in Hamburg.
Since June 2016, a SUNCY solar boat operated by SeaZen sails silently and without odor between Nice and Monaco. With its amazing boat tours a new public soak ups an experience Zen, elegant and respectful of the environment.
Powered by only 2 kW of engine power, it can carry 8 passengers at 5 knots. Compared to the Norwegian Ferry, it takes 150 times more power to carry only 50 times more passengers. No doubt that the Côte d'Azur is the cradle of world solar boating!
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