The new ship, named the ‘Vision of the Fjords’ has a 749kw hybrid engine that allows the boat to change between diesel power and emission free modes. The sleek design of the boat was inspired by a mountain road snaking its way up a hillside, something that’s very common in the area where the boat will operate.
The boat was manufactured by family run shipyard Brodrane Aa, a specialists in carbon-fibre vessels. Founded in 1947 the company switched to using composite materials in the 1970’s and were the first to create a GRP-sandwich vessel to be approved by DNV. In 2002 Brødrene Aa launched the worlds first commercial passenger vessel made from carbon fibre and has led to a new era of shipbuilding for the company.
The ferry will use its diesel engine to reach the start of the UNESCO heritage area whilst cruising at around 20 knots. Once at the entrance the boat will switch to battery mode, decreasing speed to 8 knots to reduce energy usage and comply with speed limits.
The lightweight carbon fibre construction allows the battery-powered boat to navigate its route through the UNESCO heritage on a single charge. The diesel engine can be used to either power or charge the batteries on the boat and the company have built hydro-electric charging stations in Flam and Gudvangen where the ferry can get its batteries fully charged in around 20 minutes.
The operator hopes to start commercial operations with the vessel in a month and are already thinking about ordering a sister ship, with the ultimate goal to replace all of its diesel-powered vehicles with completely quiet and non-polluting ones.