Visitors to Niagara Falls can now get up close and personal with the international tourist attraction in an electric ferry.
The two new electric ferries were first announced in early 2019 and scheduled to set sail in September last year for the Maid of the Mist company on the US side of the falls.
Due to several delays, the Nikola Tesla and James V. Glynn officially took the first passengers to the falls yesterday, October 6 2020.
The catamarans are each powered by a pair of lithium-ion battery packs delivering 316kWh divided across the two hulls. According the battery manufacturer ABB, this configuration offers a level of redundancy that helps to safeguard operations.
Not only are the ferries producing no emissions, the electricity going into them is also green. In between trips, the boats are charged to 80% capacity through an onshore charging system that is powered by locally produced hydroelectricity.
Since the boats get extremely close to the base of the powerful falls, having the instant power and torque of an electric motor is ideal to easily get away from the powerful currents. The experience will also be quite different for passengers as the roar and vibrations of the old diesel engines will be replaced by the silent operation of the dual electric motors.
With the introduction of the new electric ferries, the well-known Maid of the Mist VI has been retired. The company’s other boat, the Maid of the Mist VII will continue operations as they transition to a fully electric fleet.
Check out the video below showing the new ferries in action.