Austal launches VOLTA series of electric powered high speed ferries


Represent the future of commercial maritime transport, capable of zero emissions, lower operating costs, a quieter and more comfortable ride and outstanding reliability

Austal Australia has launched the VOLTA™ series of electric-powered high speed ferry solutions, with the introduction of the Passenger Express 46V, a fully electric-powered 46 metre catamaran ferry design. Austal’s new VOLTA™ series is distinct from existing, electric-powered vessels in the marketplace by going beyond the replacement of diesel engines with an electric (battery) power plant, to offer a completely integrated design, construction and support solution - including on-shore charging infrastructure and in-service support programs for operators.

VOLTA™ series vessels combine all new, light-weight, low-resistance hull forms, specifically designed, tested and optimised for electric-power propulsion, with state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries. Austal provides operators with a fully customised design and ‘turnkey’ solution, taking into account passenger numbers, vessel schedules and charging infrastructure.

Austal Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the new VOLTA™ series of high speed ferries represent the future of commercial maritime transport, offering operators a cost-effective electric-powered vessel; capable of zero emissions, lower operating costs, a quieter and more comfortable ride, and outstanding reliability. “For any high speed vessel and even more so for electric-powered ferries, optimising vessel weight and performance is essential - driving not just operating costs, but the size and upfront purchase cost of the batteries and the charging system.“With Austal’s unique VOLTA™ series of custom designed and built vessels, customers may achieve a lower total cost of ownership without compromising on performance or capability. Operators can reliably and profitably sail on schedule all day, every day,” Mr Gregg said.

“Austal’s VOLTA™ series also future-proofs an operators’ fleet by introducing environmentally friendly, ‘green’ technology that already meets widely anticipated, low or zero-emission targets for public transport vehicles and operators, worldwide.”

Austal drew upon the company’s own vast experience and expertise in innovative, high-speed craft design, construction and support – and collaborated with industry leading electric technology partners from around the world - to develop the VOLTA™ series of electric-powered ferries over the past two years.

The first of class, 46 metre ‘Passenger Express 46V’ is a high speed passenger ferry, designed to provide an environmentally friendly, economical vessel ideal for metropolitan, inland waterway commuter ferry services. Boasting a capacity of up to 450 passengers, a maximum speed of 25 knots and fast charging capability, with a range of over 175 nautical miles per day, the Passenger Express 46V highlights the real advantages of the VOLTA™ design technology.

The vessel’s striking, modern design features a natural, light filled interior enabled by large, panoramic windows and generous skylights, positioned along the entire length of the cabin. Double automatic-sliding external doors provide direct, easy access to the passenger deck for fast passenger turnarounds that match or better the succinct battery-charging times offered by the fully integrated, shore-based battery charging infrastructure.

Austal plans to expand the VOLTA™ series through the development of additional models for both commercial and defence applications, including autonomous vessels; and continue research and development into emerging propulsion technology, to deliver zero emission marine solutions globally.

Prinicipal Particulars – Passenger Express 46V
• Length overall - 46 metres Beam - 12.3 metres
• Draft < 2 metres
• 2 x Full electric, permanent magnet motors
• 2 x FPP, or CPP propellers (Waterjet or Azimuth also available)
• Full redundancy with 2 Lithium battery banks (one in each hull)
• Minimum battery life of 7 years
Payload and Capacities
• Passengers - 400 to 450 • Bicycles - 10
• Crew - 3
• Operating speed - 20kts
• Maximum speed - 25+kts
• Maximum range per day >175 nm per day with 20% reserve

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