Ika Rere Electric Ferry

2018 - 2021

After years of innovation, collaboration and expert craftmanship McKay’s marine and engineering divisions delivered a turnkey power and propulsion system design and installation for the first fully electric passenger ferry in the Southern Hemisphere. The Wellington electric ferry, Ika Rere, is the first of its kind in New Zealand and will operate entirely under battery power for it’s shipping schedule.

In partnership with Wellington Electric Boat Building Company (WEBBCo), McKay delivered the entire electrical scope for the ferry, including

  • Electrical engineering design and installation (All facets)
  • Vessel automation
  • Electric propulsion
  • Energy/Battery storage design and installation
  • Onshore charging integration and design

The electrical scope provided a turnkey solution including battery storage and onshore charging. McKay’s engineers built the battery and energy storage system, complete with automation and controls, which met the power requirements for the passenger ferry. The custom solution, designed and built, demonstrated McKay’s experience with battery and energy storage technology and the systems associated with this. During the project complex engineering problems were solved such as charger integration, navigational aids, cooling integration and control to ensure that the ferry could run on a commercial schedule.

The electrical system will allow the vessel to operate at nominal 20 knot service speed, running through commuter peak sailings followed by a relaxed mid-day schedule made possible by rapid charging.

Unlike hybrid vessels that utilise multiple energy forms, the Wellington electric ferry will operate using entirely electricity with no diesel genset, no solar power and shore recharge only. The ferry will comply with DNV-GL & Maritime NZ regulations for electric vessels in terms of emergency/redundancy.

The 19 meter carbon-fibre catamaran will carry up to 132 passengers across Wellington Harbour, from March 2022.

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