New York City has announced that it is set to join the ranks of operators utilizing hybrid-electric ferries, with plans to introduce its first public vessel for operation in New York harbor. The city’s mayor, Eric Adams, revealed that a contract has been awarded for the construction of the ferry, which is expected to begin transporting tourists from Lower Manhattan to Governors Island in the summer of 2024.
The new ferry will be equipped with a hybrid propulsion system, designed to reduce air pollution by allowing the vessel to toggle between zero-emission battery-only power and battery-assisted hybrid with diesel backup. With a capacity for up to 1,200 passengers and a cruising speed of 10 knots, the ferry will be the first of its kind to provide public transportation within New York Harbor. The vessel’s amenities will include an ADA-accessible lounge and restrooms on each level.
Designed by the Elliott Bay Design Group, who previously worked with New York City on the design and construction of three new ferries operating to Staten Island, the vessel was described as being 190 feet in length and double-ended, with the ability to transport both vehicles and passengers. Propulsion will utilize a two variable-speed, reversing permanent magnet motors rated for 540 kW at 670 rpm, with one propeller at each end of the vessel.
Mayor Adams expressed his excitement for the project, stating that “the next generation deserves a green city and a vibrant Governors Island, and this first-of-its-kind ferry will help us deliver both.” As more New Yorkers transition to greener forms of transportation, the city is taking the lead in exploring cleaner, more efficient ways to get around.