The first of two new-build ‘fusion class’ ferries has been delivered to P&O Ferries for use on the company’s Dover to Calais route. The P&O Pioneer was built by Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) in China and is scheduled to arrive in the UK to begin operations before the summer 2023 season.
The P&O Pioneer is claimed to be the world’s largest double-ended ferry and features one of the largest battery installations ever fitted to a vessel. When maneuvering in port, the ferry will operate using only its battery system which benefits from a capacity of up to 8.8MW/h. These batteries will then be recharged by four Wärtsilä diesel engines during the cross-channel journeys. In comparison to the company’s current ferries, the Pioneer is estimated to use 40% less fuel.
P&O’s latest ferry has also been designed to be converted to plug-in all battery operation once charging facilities become available in Dover and Calais. As a result, the four main engines will no longer be required and will be replaced with additional battery packs to make the vessel zero emission.
For a high level of maneuverability, ABB has supplied four of its electrically powered azipods, negating the need for bow or stern thrusters and rudders as each pod can be independently rotated 360°.
The latest ferry can accommodate 1,500 passengers over 10,000m2 of passenger space. Later in 2023, P&O Ferries is expected to take delivery of the Pioneer’s sister ship, the P&O Liberte. The pair represent an investment of €260m by the company.
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