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How Candela’s New Electric Ferry Could Help Drive Zero Emissions Passenger Transport In Cities (Part Two)

(Click here for Part One of the interview with Gustav Hasselskog, a Founder and CEO of a Swedish tech company Candela, which created all-foiling Candela P-30—the world’s fastest all-electric passenger ship that will hit Stockholm’s waterways in 2022, shuttling passengers to and from the archipelago above the waves without wakes, noise and CO2 emissions.)

Afdhel Aziz: Is it also true that it is at cost that is 95 percent cheaper to run than for conventional fossil fuel powerboats?

Gustav Hasselskog: Yes, the cost is about 5 dollars for recharging the battery completely. And you never have to visit the fuel dock again.

Aziz: The environmental impact is also very significant considering that 2.5% – 5% of greenhouse gases come from the Marine sector correct?

Hasselskog: Yes, and these emissions are projected to increase between 50% and 250% by 2050, according to the International Maritime Organization, undermining the objectives of the Paris Agreement

In Sweden this year, greenhouse emissions from leisure boats ONLY were most probably greater than emissions from domestic flights. If you count in coastal ferries, that could be electrified using foiling technology, the emissions from smaller craft are significant. 

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Aziz: So, what is the potential to scale this from leisure to more mass-market forms of transport? 

We’re actually scaling our technology to public transport this spring, beginning with a ferry project in the Nordics. Shifting from today’s diesel-guzzling ferries to electric hydrofoils would save ship operators about 1/3 of their overall costs. But an electric foiling ferry is not just a replacement for today’s dirty diesel ferries. It’s a zero-emission, low cost public transport alternative that utilizes mankind’s oldest infrastructure – rivers and oceans. 

From Hong Kong to San Francisco and Dusseldorf – there’s a huge potential market for electric, foiling electric ferries in coastal and river cities. These craft would open up previously unused urban waters where roads are congested, and current ferries can’t go fast because of the wake they produce. Our ferry concept would be able to go from, for example, Berkeley to downtown San Francisco in 10 minutes. In a New York scenario, it could run from Newark airport to Brooklyn in 20 minutes, whereas a bus trip would take 50 minutes. And the ride would be silent and totally awesome – low-altitude electric flying!

Aziz: Fascinating! Please tell us more about the P-30 Launch and what it entails?

Hasselskog: We’re happy that the City of Stockholm has chosen us to supply the world’s first electric, hydrofoiling passenger ship. The P-30 is a 30 passenger ferry that will serve commuters to and from the vast Stockholm archipelago. At its launch in 2022, it will set several world records for being the fastest, longest-range electric ship as well as the most energy efficient ship ever made. Flying through the archipelago at 30 knots, it will be faster than the city’s current diesel ferries, about 40% cheaper to operate and, with a range of 60 nautical miles, able to travel even the longest routes. This is an important project for us, since conventional diesel ships by far are the least energy efficient means of transport today, consuming about 10 times more energy per passenger kilometer than a hybrid electric bus. To put this into perspective, Candela P-30 is actually slightly more effective than a hybrid bus. 

Aziz: Why is this such a game changer for sustainable passenger transport?

Hasselskog: While road traffic congestion has increased considerably since the 1990’s, waterborne transports are actually in decline. Today, most rivers and waterways in urban areas are unused for high-speed passenger transport. Why? Conventional diesel passenger ships are incredibly dirty, slow, very costly and create huge wakes that prohibit them from going full speed.

P-30 will open up many new waterways for fast, zero emission transport. There’s no wake, so it can potentially travel at high speeds even in no-wake zones. Since the P-30’s energy consumption and corresponding operating costs are so low, it is not only a replacement for today’s diesel ferries, but also a cheap, zero-emission alternative to diesel buses, cars, or even building new railroads or subways. In many cities, from New York to Venice, electric high speed ships would offer excellent cross-city connections. 

The transition to electric ships will not happen automatically. In order to replace existing ferries and other coastal vessels, you have to offer an electric alternative that not only is better, but also cheaper. I think P-30 will fill this role.

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