Shipbuilder Austal Australia has launched its Volta series of electric-powered high-speed ferry solutions, with the introduction of the Passenger Express 46V, a fully electric, 46m catamaran ferry design.
Austal says the Volta series is distinct from existing electric-powered vessels in the marketplace as its design goes beyond the replacement of diesel engines with an electric (battery) powerplant, offering a completely integrated design, construction and support solution – including on-shore charging infrastructure and in-service support programs for operators.
The vessels will feature an all-new, lightweight, low-resistance hull form, specifically designed and optimized for electric-power propulsion. Austal notes that it can provide operators with a fully customized design and ‘turnkey’ solution, considering passenger numbers, vessel schedules and charging infrastructure.
Austal CEO Paddy Gregg commented, “For any high-speed vessel and even more so for electric-powered ferries, optimizing vessel weight and performance is essential – driving not just operating costs, but the size and up-front 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.”
The Passenger Express 46V has a capacity of 450 passengers, a maximum speed of 25kts and fast charging capability, with a range of over 175 nautical miles per day. Austal plans to expand the Volta series through the development of additional models for both commercial and defense applications, including autonomous vessels.