ABB to deliver Auckland’s electric ferry charging system ABB to deliver Auckland’s electric ferry charging system

Date: 08 December 2023

Auckland Transport (AT) has awarded ABB the contract to supply a megawatt-level charging system for its incoming electric ferries. 

Over the next few years, the first two fully electric and two electric-hybrid ferries will be joining AT’s ferry fleet as it works to provide low emission public transport across its network. By 2030, Auckland is set to have the largest electric ferry fleet in the Southern Hemisphere. 

The new ferries will require modern charging infrastructure which will be engineered and installed by global technology company ABB, says Nathan Cammock, AT’s Low Emission Ferry Programme Director. 

“Each charger will be capable of supplying over three megawatts of power, allowing the ferries to quickly top up between journeys. They will charge for five to 10 minutes during passenger boardings, meaning we can minimise the size of the marine batteries and allow high vessel utilisation without long charging periods.” 

ABB was a natural choice to deliver the required infrastructure, given its global expertise and local presence, Mr Cammock says. 

“ABB has been providing technical solutions in New Zealand for 90 years. The ferry chargers we need in Auckland are very similar to what ABB has recently delivered in Portugal to support ten electric ferries.” 

Palemia Field, Ferry Segment Manager, ABB Marine & Ports, says Auckland is at the forefront of sustainability efforts in the marine sector and AT’s decision is a clear demonstration of that. 

“Ferries connect communities and have a significant impact on the environment. Electrification is crucial and we must move away from emissions-generating technologies.  

“Noise- and emission-free operations benefit both the broader and local communities, while passengers onboard enjoy improved travel comfort thanks to less vibration.” 

Mr Cammock says the decarbonisation of AT’s ferry fleet is a part of its Mission Electric initiative to invest in low emission transport options. 

“AT’s train network has been electrified already and all new buses will be electric. Now we are doing the same for the ferry network. 

“Auckland’s ferries use around 13 million litres of diesel each year and make up 20 percent of public transport emissions. Our first new ferries will be powered by locally generated electricity, helping reduce fuel consumption by approximately 1.5 million litres each year, and avoiding about 4,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions,” he says.

“The new ferries will also have greater passenger capacity, improved accessibility, and a more consistent customer experience compared to our current fleet. They will be owned by Auckland (via AT) for the benefit of Auckland.” 

While the new electric and electric-hybrid ferries are being built, AT is also having four existing diesel ferries overhauled and refitted with more fuel-efficient engines to provide an immediate reliability and emissions benefit.