If you’re a frequent user of BC Ferries, you may be travelling on hybrid electric vessels before the end of 2020, with a fleet of 6 hybrid-electric vessels by 2022.
These new hybrid electric vessels will travel on the shorter inter-island routes and will be known as Island Class Ferries. They will have on-board batteries that will store electricity generated by diesel fuel.
The first boats scheduled to launch in 2020 will operate out of central Vancouver Island between Powell River and Texada Island. Another proposed route is between Port McNeill and Alert Bay and Malcolm Island, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island.
BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins told CBC that these new hybrid vessels mark the start of BC Ferries plan to switch all their vessels to electric, including the ferries on the popular and most-used Vancouver-Victoria route. Even though these first hybrid vessels will use diesel fuel, they are designed to be solely electric once the on-shore infrastructure is in place to allow charging, especially between runs as cars load and offload.
BC Ferries has already invested more than $500 million in low-carbon technologies, with the eventual goal of a future where the company has a net zero carbon footprint.