Sweden launches world's first quick-charging electric passenger ferry


April 29, 2014

Sweden's Movitz ferry, the first "supercharged" electric passenger ferry, debuts in August.

Sweden's Movitz ferry, the first "supercharged" electric passenger ferry, debuts in August.

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Sweden’s Green City Ferries is preparing to launch what it claims is the world’s first “supercharged” electric passenger ferry. Carrying 100 passengers between Solna Strand and Gamla Stan, the Movitz will need just 10 minutes to charge its batteries between 1-hour long service runs. That’s perfect for a ferry operation, because it means it’ll be charged by the time passengers have embarked and disembarked. With extremely low maintenance requirements and reduced running costs, the ferry will reportedly save some 50,000 liters of diesel and 130 tons of carbon emissions into the bargain.

Swedish company Echandia Marine’s announcement today is part of a larger push to set up more battery-electric ferry services throughout Europe as a means of reducing operating costs and environmental impact.

Quick-charging electrics make excellent sense in a short-distance ferry application like the 7.5-km run the Movitz will be taking on. With two 125 kW POD motors on board driven by some 180 kWh worth of high-tech Nilar Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries, the Movitz will operate for up to an hour between recharges, and will quick charge in just ten minutes as passengers get on and off. This kind of usage cycle negates the need for huge, expensive and heavy battery packs.

Claimed to be the first "supercharged" electric passenger ferry in the world, the Movitz will launch in August this year, while Norway is expecting the launch of a similarly "supercharged" but much larger car-carrying electric ferry in 2015.

The simplicity of the electric drive system is expected to lower running costs by as much as 30 percent when compared with a typical marine diesel ferry. They will be quieter and cleaner, and vastly more energy efficient than the diesels, which put out some 130 tons of carbon dioxide, 1.5 tons of nitrous oxide and burn around 50,000 liters of diesel per year.

Source: Echandia Marine

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Sounds like everything is becoming electrical charging. is this the new vogue.

Zilong Han

Charging 180kWh worth of battery cells in 10 minutes? Without supercaps? Where has this "Nilar Nickel-Metal-Hydride" tech been in the auto sector?


I think that is not only green but also cool. I think it shows being green does not have to be ugly or weird. Being quick charging means being in service longer. It would be nice to have a video of it showing how quiet it is.


The big question is how are they getting approximately 90 to 180kWh of energy to the pier in 10 minutes? That's a peak usage rate of 500kW to 1MW, not counting losses. Not impossible, but it's a railway locomotive's worth of intermittant usage.

Perhaps they are going to locate the ferry near an electrified railway?


Why is this possible now? Is it a new quick charge battery? Why can't this work for cars and what would the maximum range be for 2K lbs.? I am asking because I would accept a 400 mile range if I could recharge in one hour. It would mean traveling a thousand miles would take 2 hours longer but if that costs less I could accept the delay.

Don Duncan


It's not the charging time that's the problem. It's the multi-megawatt electrical service that has to be run to every recharging station. Every. Single. One.

You wouldn't plan your trip according to where you want to go--you'd plan your trip according to the advance reservations you've made at the barely-adequate number of charging stations along the way.


Typical hyped up green agenda stuff with whacky numbers . Yes we all want to stop the burning of the oil with its problems but energy has to come from someplace and often batteries solutions just shift the smoke stack to another place Take this ~50,000 liters of Diesel fuel number which is about ~50k * ~0.832 kg/l = ~41.6 tons metric . The norm for converting oil to carbon dioxide is ~2.3 to ~2.5 time which makes a maximum of ~104 tons of CO2 and not the reported 130 tons . The battery technology such 2000 cycle as A123 can recharge in ~5 minutes but low power density and costs are high This makes cheaper 2000 cycle NiMH solution which can recharge in 15 to 20 minutes more interesting .If you add in extra batteries so the 50% of the battery capacity is used the battery will recharge in 10 minutes.However if you hit head winds and use more than ~50% capacity then recharge times might be increased . The replacement costs of the batteries after the 2000 cycle life is used up is expensive in cost and energy .The metals to make batteries require energy to mine melt and manufacture .The energy to top up batteries has to come from some source such as local gas or oil fired electric station . So if we run the entire Global energy input output story we will find the energy saved from using battery solutions might be small or at best ~50% with many battery solutions only giving about ~20% saving in energy . The smoke stack now the local power station will however probably have a scrubber and save us from the 1.5 tons of nitric pollutions . It would be far better if they had said the better mathematics that the ~104 tons of CO2 would be reduced to ~80 tons or said there could be ~20% drop in CO2 production ( Not that i believe for one second that CO2 global cooking story) . The marine environment is harsh environment and running costs are high and electric engines and batteries with low maintenance demands can bring in large cost saving compared to more complex diesel engine solutions with their typical lower shaft efficiency of less than 25% The truth of the matter is the marine world where heavy weight batteries are less of an issue than cars and planes and trains means they can possibly use these battery solutions to save costs on fuel and maintenance bills and they dont care one rats rear end the green agenda other than they can add a green flag to their sales ticket . Some here have exposed another issue the demand for energy this 10 minute spike isn't to be sniffed at and the energy to recharge battery might very well come from a onshore based quick ramp up ~2000 BHP Diesel engine with it low shaft efficiency of >~25% compared to the local grids better shaft efficiency of ~50% from ~25,000 BHP diesel engines .If the local electric grid is staggered charging every ten minutes a new ferry there they can add that to the base load so efficiency from grid will be higher .If the local grid is intermittently charging a few ferries this can effect their base load demands and they might have to ramp up quick ramp up electric generators like jet engines with less haft efficiency than the base load larger diesel engines or gas turbines . Their are many factors to look at before we can say for sure the benefit of the environment from battery solutions including the recycling of the batteries some which have toxic metals .

Dsd Sds

@ Dsd Sds

WOW! What a ramble of nonsense. How come those "costs" don't apply to oil? The metals required in building large tanker ships, refineries, trucks, gas stations, etc. All those are part of the costs and contribute to the "pollution" from oil.

And on top of that MOST, almost all, of Sweden's electricity is produced either by hydro (53%) or nuclear (40%) neither of which fit your "whacky numbers".

And on top of everything else I doubt the ferry company would put this electric boat in action in August, if they had not done the math and testing already to make sure it is feasible.

Florin Nicoara

Given my experience with Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries I expect the fairy to become stranded inside three months.

@ justme70

I suspect a very large number of very small batteries and either another set of batteries at each charge station or the utility has the generating capacity to provide the juice an demand which would be convenient if they get 7 boats. per charger.


They discuss some of the generation aspects which hint at clean electricity. But there is lot of marketing leeway in their press release and projections. However, it is a highly efficient propulsion system using electric motors so I give them credit in that. Additionally it lowers local marine pollution.

Nari Soundarrajan
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