First hybrid electric ferries in BC arrive in Victoria

First hybrid electric ferries in BC arrive in Victoria
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WatchTwo of B.C. Ferries' new Island Class hybrid electric ferries arrive at Ogden Point Saturday.

The first hybrid electric ferries ever to arrive in B.C. were brought into Victoria’s Ogden Point Saturday morning.

B.C. Ferries’ two Island Class vessels have been on-board the a semi-submersible transport vessel called Sun Rise since Nov. 20— when they departed Constanta, Romania.

“It’s a really exciting day at B.C. ferries as well as coastal communities in B.C as we really look forward to welcoming these ferries to their new home in Victoria,” Said B.C. Ferries Spokesperson Tessa Humphries.

“The Island class ferries are battery equipped ferries designed for full electric operation, they’re outfitted with hybrid technology, that bridges the gap until shore infrastructure and funding becomes available.”

For now the ferries will still use diesel, but will work like a hybrid-electric car. The new power systems will improve efficiency and reduce emissions during interim operations.

“This is a great step forward,” said Glenn Garry, an electric vehicle advocate who was watching as the ships were brought in Saturday.

“They’re not fully electric. They’re a bit of a Prius hybrid and they’re diesel and battery, but they will be converted later on, and then become Tesla’s.”

It’s a major milestone for B.C. Ferries in their efforts to reduce emissions in the fleet.

They will spend five more days at Ogden Point, before the ferries will head up the harbour to the Point Hope Maritime company.

The ferries will service the Powell River to Texada route, and Port McNeill to Alert Bay and Sointula route.

Depending on the configuration, they will be able to carry around 47 vehicles and 300 to 450 passengers and crew.

Two more of the Island Class Ferries will operate by 2022 on the Campbell River to Quadra Island route, along with the Nanaimo Harbour to Gabriola Island route.

B.C. Ferries hopes to have the first two operating by mid-2020.

With files from the CBC

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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