Canadian operator BC Ferries’ newest Island Class ferry, Island Aurora, has sailed on the company’s Gabriola Island–Nanaimo Harbour route for an operational trial over the past three days. The vessel has been sailing in conjunction with the Quinsam, which has operated on its regular schedule during the trial.
According to the company, the Island Aurora performed operational exercises on its first day of sailing (February 6) and did not carry passengers or vehicles during this time. However, on February 7 and 8, it was available for traveling customers.
BC Ferries’ Island Class are battery-equipped ships designed for full electric operation. They have been fitted with hybrid technology to bridge a capability gap until the shore charging infrastructure becomes available. They are able to carry 47 vehicles and are double-ended for easy loading and unloading.
Introduction of the Island Class ferries is part of an ambitious plan by the company to convert one-third of its fleet to electric power over the next seven years. Currently, the company has six hybrid ferries under construction at the Damen shipyard in Romania, which will later be converted to full electric drive at Canadian shipyards. The next stage of BC Ferries’ electric fleet expansion will see the addition of seven further ferries, to be built in Canadian yards.