Artist’s rendering of new high-speed, zero-emissions electric ferry to operate in New York Harbor.

All-Electric Ferry Planned For New York Harbor

New York Cruise Lines and Green City Ferries AB, based in Stockholm, Sweden, announced a collaboration November 3 to launch the first high-speed, zero-emissions electric ferry to New York Harbor.

The vessel will operate under New York Cruise Lines’ subsidiary, New York Water Taxi, between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The target completion date for the vessel is spring 2024.

The Beluga24 vessel design has a capacity of 147 passengers and 28 bicycles, according to the companies. It includes carbon-fiber construction with a foil-assisted Teknicraft design for a low wake and high speed. The above-water layout is an Italian design by Sculli. Other features include a BAE Systems driveline, Echandia power management, Toshiba batteries and Hamilton high-speed water jets. 

The collaboration with New York Cruise Lines and New York Water Taxi represents Green City Ferries AB’s first project manufactured in the United States and for use in the United States, but not the first deployment of the Beluga24 design. The same design is currently scheduled to enter service in Stockholm in early 2023.

“As a leader and innovator in the international marine industry, we are incredibly excited to bring our technology to New York City,” said Hans Thornell, chairman of Green City Ferries. “The Beluga24 delivers for New Yorkers a luxury, zero-emission experience with our ultra-quiet, high-speed, low-vibration, fast-charging vessel. Our passengers’ first ride aboard our sleek, fast and efficient ferry will change their expectations of emission-free maritime transportation forever.”

Craig Kanarick, CEO of New York Cruise Lines, said that New York Water Taxi has been working to bring cleaner, more efficient ferry service to New York Harbor and that it has found the right partner in Green City Ferries.

“We can’t wait to thrill our passengers with this ultra-luxurious, zero-emission experience, and together change the public perception on how ferries can improve lives in our city and around the world,” he said.

Kanarick noted that the new ferry will be quieter than other vessels, which will help provide a more enjoyable ride.

Because it is a partial hydrofoil, it cuts through the water more efficiently, and its carbon-fiber construction means that even with its battery it will still be lighter than traditional diesel ferries with fuel on board, he said.

While the vessel will need to recharge using shoreside power, the company is still determining the specifics of what that will look like, he said. The ferry will use high-performance lithium titanium oxide (LTO) batteries by Toshiba.

The ferry is 26 meters (about 82 feet) long with a beam of 9.5 meters (about 28 feet). Its maximum draft is 1.8 meters, although that can be shortened to 1.3 to 1.4 meters using the foil assist. It will be powered by two 515 kW Volvo Penta main engines. The carbon-fiber design is not only lightweight but also durable and does not rust, he said. The ferry will be fully ADA-compliant.

Kanarick said technology has now developed to the point where it is financially feasible to provide environmentally friendlier all-electric ferries, and he believes the introduction of the Beluga24 design will mark a turning point for them in the United States.

“We know where the world is going,” he said. “The entire universe is going toward zero emissions. It’s the right thing to do for the planet.”

Additionally, he said, “It would be foolish to think that there won’t be regulations in the next 10 to 15 years that won’t require our industry to reduce or to eliminate their emissions.”

Kanarick said the company will also benefit from lower maintenance and repair costs with the ferry. He said the design is tested, safe and “makes sense.”

“It’s going to be great for our passengers,” he said. “We’re going to be able to move at higher speeds with a much smoother ride and an incredibly quiet ride.”

Caption for photo: Artist’s rendering of new high-speed, zero-emissions electric ferry to operate in New York Harbor.