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First electrical car ferry in the world in operation in Norway now

  • Siemens delivers electric propulsion system and charging stations with lithium-ion batteries charged from hydro power
  • Ferry only uses 150 kilowatt hours (kWh) per route and reduces cost of fuel by 60 percent
  • Milestone on the road to operating emission-free ferries

The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which corresponds to three days use of electricity in a standard Norwegian household.

The first electric car and passenger ferry in the world, equipped by Siemens in cooperation with shipbuilder Fjellstrand, has been taken into operation. With three battery packs, one on board and one at each pier, it functions completely emission free.

Built in conjunction with shipbuilder Fjellstrand, Siemens installed the complete electric propulsion system and put up charging stations with lithium-ion batteries which are charged from hydro power. With the change to battery, ship owner Norled is reducing the cost of fuel by up to 60 percent.

The Norled ferry represents a milestone on the road to operating completely emission-free ferries along Norway's long coastline, with at least 50 other routes currently able to sustain battery-operated vessels.

Because the power grid in the region is relatively weak, Siemens and Norled decided to install three battery packs: one lithium-ion battery on board the ferry, and one at each pier to serve as a buffer. The 260-kWh-units supply electricity to the ferry while it waits. Afterward, the battery slowly recoups all of this energy from the grid until the ship comes back again to drop off passengers and recharge. Charging stations are housed in small buildings about the size of newsstands.

The ship's onboard batteries are recharged directly from the grid at night when the ferry is not in use. Each battery pack corresponds to the effect of 1600 standard car batteries. The Norled ferry will consume around two million kWh per year, whereas a traditional diesel ferry consumes at least one million liters of diesel a year and emits 570 tons of carbon dioxide and 15 metric tons of nitrogen oxides.

"We are proud to operate the world's first electric ferry", says Sigvald Breivik, Technical director of Norled. "Siemens has been a great partner in finding innovative and sustainable solutions for our environment."

On board the ferry, Siemens installed its electric propulsion system BlueDrive PlusC. It includes a battery and steering system, thruster control for the propellers, an energy management system and an integrated alarm system. The integrated automation systems control and monitor the machineries and auxiliaries on the ferry and are connected via Profibus to all other subsystems.

"We are both optimistic and excited about this technology and how it will help shape the future of environmentally friendly maritime technology," says Mario Azar, CEO of the Siemens Business Unit Oil & Gas and Marine. "We were pleased to apply our expertise in this field including electric propulsion systems to such a worthwhile project," added Azar.

Unlike many electric cars, the emission-free ferry was developed from the ground up. The ferry, which is 80 meters long and 20 meters wide, is driven by two electric motors, each with an output of 450 kilowatts. It is made exclusively of light aluminum rather than the steel normally used in shipbuilding. This makes the ferry only half as heavy as a conventional ferry, despite its ten ton batteries and a capacity for 360 passengers and 120 vehicles. An aluminum hull also has double the lifetime as steel hull, which leads to lower maintenance costs.

Ship owner Norled operates on the ferry link across Sognefjord between Lavik and Oppedal, Norway. The fully electric ferry travels six kilometers across the fjord 34 times a day, with each trip taking around 20 minutes. The unique solution is a result of a competition that Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration launched in 2010. Batteries are expected to become considerably more efficient and less expensive in the next few years, which tip the scales further away from diesel as the most popular fuel source.

Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 165 years. The company is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world's largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is No. 1 in offshore wind turbine construction, a leading supplier of combined cycle turbines for power generation, a major provider of power transmission solutions and a pioneer in infrastructure solutions as well as automation, drive and software solutions for industry. The company is also a leading provider of medical imaging equipment – such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging systems – and a leader in laboratory diagnostics as well as clinical IT. In fiscal 2014, which ended on September 30, 2014, Siemens generated revenue from continuing operations of €71.9 billion and net income of €5.5 billion. At the end of September 2014, the company had around 343,000 employees worldwide on a continuing basis.

Further information is available on the Internet at

Reference Number: PR2015050200PDEN

Ms. Ines Giovannini
Process Industries and Drives Division
Siemens AG

Gleiwitzer Str. 555

90475 Nürnberg


Tel: +49 (911) 895-7946


Ines Giovannini | Siemens Process Industries and Drives

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