First all-electric US built ferries enter service

The first all-electric vessels built in the US, the James V. Glynn and Nikola Tesla have been approved to enter service. The Niagara Falls tour ferries are each powered by a pair of battery packs providing 316 kWh total capacity divided across two catamaran hulls.

Dividing the batteries across the two hulls offers a level of redundancy that helps to safeguard operations. The batteries allow the electric propulsion motors to reach an output of up to 400 kW, with the power setup controlled by a Power and Energy Management System. Both the batteries and the integrated power and propulsion solution, including an offshore charging system, are supplied by ABB. The ship’s is also equipped with ABB’s Ability Marine Remote Diagnostic System for monitoring and predictive maintenance.

The ferries are charged using locally produced hydroelectricity – ensuring that the energy cycle for the operation of the Maid of the Mist ferries is entirely emissions free – in a process that takes just seven minutes during disembarkation and boarding. The ships’ names are in honour of the Maid of the Mist chairman and the renowned energy pioneer.

‘Maid of the Mist has always evolved with the technology, and we are thrilled to open a new page in our company’s history, moving our fleet to zero-emission operation,’ says Christopher M. Glynn, President of Maid of the Mist Corp. ‘Close collaboration with ABB has been instrumental in making this project a success, and we are proud of what we were able to accomplish together.’

‘As well as allowing passengers to enjoy the spectacular experience of Niagara Falls and safeguarding the environment, the vessels confirm growing acceptance of all-electric vessel propulsion,’ adds Juha Koskela, ABB Marine & Ports Division President. ‘We applaud Maid of the Mist’s decision to move to zero-emission operation and are honored to have worked with this forward-thinking company on implementing the electric power and propulsion solution.’

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.