World´s first battery-driven car ferry

In 2012, Norled won the contract to build and operate the world’s first battery driven ferry on the Lavik-Oppedal route in southwest Norway. He ferry will be delivered from the Fjellstrand shipyard in October and commence operation 1st of January 2015. Due to the high level of innovation in the project, the battery powered ferry is one among three candidates for the Ship of the Year 2014 Award.

Battery technology has developed quickly during recent years, reducing both weight and cost. The success has its roots within the automotive industry, which have made the technology available for use in other areas, like in the shipping industry.

The large number of fjords and islands in Norway make several crossings suitable for battery operation. A study made by the Fjellstrand shipyard shows approx. 40 potential crossings that, in the future, could be operated by battery driven ferries.

Through collaboration with some of the industry’s main players, the world’s first battery driven car ferry is now under construction at Fjellstrand and will start operating 1st of January 2015.

The world’s first large all-electric car ferry is a 100% battery driven catamaran in aluminium. The 80-meter long vessel will be able to carry 120 cars and 360 passengers across the Sognefjord between Lavik and Oppedal.

Illustration showing principle with a battery bank continuously charged from the public grid.
Illustration showing principle with a battery bank continuously charged from the public grid.

The ferry will run 34 times each day, with a crossing time of 20 minutes. Time at port is 10 minutes, time which will be used to fully charge the 1MWh lithium-polymer battery pack on board.

This amount of electric power delivered in such a short time is far beyond the capacity of the electrical grid serving in the villages of Lavik and Oppedal. The solution is to install battery buffers at both ports. These batteries can be continuously charged from the grid with 250 kW, then rapidly provide a quick dump to the ferry’s batteries.