Siemens has announced that it has been commissioned to provide the complete electro-technical solution for Finland’s first battery-powered car ferry. The Finnish shipping company FinFerries has ordered the newbuilding from the Polish shipyard CRIST S.A.

The environmentally-friendly ferry will provide transport options between Nauvo and Parainen in the Turku Archipelago. It will be approximately 90 meters long by 16 meters wide with capacity for a maximum of 90 cars. Operation on the 1.6 kilometer-long route will begin in summer 2017.

The ferry will be equipped with the Siemens electric propulsion system BlueDrive PlusC. It includes an energy storage system, variable speed drive technology for the propellers and an integrated alarm and monitoring system.

According to Siemens, FinFerries will benefit from lower operating, maintenance and repair costs, as well as improved control and safety through its energy management and thruster control systems.

The complete electro-technical solution includes the remote access monitoring system EcoMain. Siemens will also be supplying a WiFi solution to connect with shore-based charging stations controlled by the ferry’s energy management system in order to secure automated fast charging.

The ship’s energy storage system is charged at each side of the crossing, with a shore connection to the local grid. Due to the harsh winter conditions in Finland, the ferry will have the possibility to utilize a diesel engine to support the onboard batteries which will serve as an extra boost when breaking and traveling through ice. The ferry is then operated as a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Based on positive experience gained with the world’s first battery-powered car ferry “Ampere”, Siemens has tailor-made a suitable technical solution for Finland’s first emission-free ferry.

Ampere was put into operation in Norway in May 2015, and has traveled a distance equivalent to more than 1.5 times around the equator. It uses only 150 kilowatt hours (kWh) per route, and with the change from diesel propulsion to battery, ship owner Norled has reduced the cost of fuel by 60 percent.

“Battery-powered ferries offer a great new way to provide sustainable, efficient and reliable water transportation. As we have already proven, this project will be another milestone in environmentally-friendly technologies,” commented Dr. Juergen Brandes, CEO of the Siemens Process Industries and Drives Division.