Finnish electric drive manufacturer The Switch has delivered its first DC-Hub to UK ferry operator Wightlink for installation into its flagship new-build diesel-electric hybrid ferry. The current delivery will be installed by Wärtsilä on the 90m new-build vessel at the Cemre shipyard in Yalova, Turkey. The craft has a capacity for 178 cars and more than 1,200 passengers. It is part of Wightlinks US$57.4m Investing for the Future programme, which is scheduled to begin operation in the Solent strait in the summer of 2018. We believe this is the future of shipping, said Asbjørn Halsebakke, general manager, The Switch Marine Drives Norway. It allows vessel generators to run at optimal efficiency, with batteries taking the strain of any necessary load changes. This significantly reduces fuel consumption and therefore operational cost and environmental impact. The DC nature of the system also allows batteries to be utilised as standby power sources, meaning generators can be turned off entirely. Less running time means less maintenance, as well as less fuel consumption. Whats more, any potential power source such as wind generators, fuel cells or solar panels can be easily connected to DC. So by eliminating the need for AC switchboards, we create a simpler, tailor-made system for more compliant, cost-effective and environmentally friendly operation.