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The world's largest electric passenger ferry will run between Argentina and Uruguay.

Published: 2023-01-18

The Tasmanian manufacturer of high-speed catamaran ferries Incat announced its intention to deliver the world's largest electric passenger ferry to the Argentine operator Buquebus by 2025. The ship will sail between Argentina and Uruguay and will carry up to 2,100 people and 226 vehicles. It is noteworthy that initially the project was designed for LNG engines, but at the request of the customer they will be replaced with battery-powered electric ones.

The ferry will be 130 m long and 32 m wide. The maximum speed on four engines running on liquefied natural gas would reach 37.5 knots. On electric engines, the ferry will reach speeds of up to 25 knots. Battery power will be introduced after the start of operation of the vessel, when regular charging stations will be created along the route. Until then, the ferry will be driven by electric motors powered by on-board generators and, accordingly, carry fuel tanks. After the commissioning of the charging infrastructure, the tanks and generators will be dismantled and replaced with battery packs.

According to Incat, the electric ferry project will be the first for the company and a number of details are still to be worked out, but there is nothing fundamentally complex in it that could prevent its implementation. The ship has already begun to be built and it will be handed over to the customer - the Argentinean company Buquebus - by 2025. It will be a catamaran of two lightweight aluminum hulls connected by a platform.

“The customer wants this to happen, Incat wants it to happen, and while there are issues to be completed, I am extremely confident that Incat can deliver this revolutionary vessel,” said Robert Clifford, founder and chairman of Incat Group. . “In my experience, if we don’t see anything unexpected, it’s already a settled issue.”

Retractable charging cables will be installed to port and starboard to charge the ferry's batteries, and are expected to support fast charging of 30-40 minutes, as well as a long one to recharge overnight. An order for the development of batteries and motors has been placed with Incat suppliers, who have already begun work.