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BC Ferries adding electric-diesel hybrid ships to fleet

BC Ferries is going electric.

Spokesperson Deborah Marshall said two electric-diesel hybrid ferries are being built right now.

“Those two ships will be delivered to British Columbia by the end of this year,” she said. “The first which will be deployed in 2020 on our Powell River-Texada route. The second one will be deployed between Port McNeill, Alert Bay, (and) Sointula.”

BC Ferries’ goal is to build four more of these ships by 2022.

The first two would sail between Gabriola Island and Nanaimo, and the second two would travel between Campbell River and Quadra Island.

The corporation is still waiting for final approval from the BC Ferries commissioner to build those four additional vessels.

Marshall said the company is looking to lighten its carbon footprint.

“The goal is to be more environmentally friendly,” she added. “These vessels, eventually, we would like to run completely on electricity so we would go full electric once we have the capabilities and the technology and whatnot, and the amount of power that we would require would be (determined).”

Some of the diesel-powered ships being replaced will be retired, including the 61-year-old North Island Princess that’s sailing between Powell River and Texada Island.

“That vessel has served us very well over the years and that ship will be retired,” Marshall said. (And) we’re looking at the Gabriola run, for example, the Quinsam (ferry) would be redeployed to our Vesuvius (Bay) – Crofton run. So there is a mixture of retirements and redeployments.”

The ships that are retired are going to be sold or recycled “in an environmentally friendly manner,” Marshall said. 

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