Norwegian ferry operator The Fjords has confirmed that is building an all-electric sister ship to its diesel-electric plug-in hybrid Vision of the Fjords, to be launched in April 2018. The 42m-long carbon-fibre Future of the Fjords is currently under construction at shipbuilder Brødrene Aa. It will retain Vision of the Fjords mountain path design and environmentally friendly build, with a hull that minimises wake and reduces shoreline impact erosion. It will offer up to 400 passengers panoramic views of the western Norwegian fjords. Under the skin this new craft is a different beast, said The Fjords CEO Rolf Sandvik. Vision of the Fjords switches from diesel to electric power when entering the UNESCO World Heritage listed Nærøyfjord. It represented an important step forward on our journey to transform tourism in this delicate natural wonderland, but this new ship is, quite simply, our dream come true. It marks the fulfilment of a vision. The new DNV GL classed light craft will be propelled by two 300kW electric motors, enabling cruising speeds of 16 knots along the fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen. Work to develop the charging infrastructure to enable its planned 700 trips a year is currently in the early stages, with local supplier Aurland Energiverk in the vanguard. Alongside the changes to the propulsion system, Future of the Fjords will feature upgraded IT systems and a restaurant. Future of the Fjords will cost approximately US$17m, marking a considerable increase over Vision of the Fjords US$10.6m price tag. Much of the extra investment is the result of opting for an all-electric solution. Enova, an organisation promoting low-emission solutions and backed by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, has provided US$2.1m to help the project come to fruition. Norway-headquartered environmental campaigner Bellona is also supporting the project.
Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.