Other tech

New Zealand is getting an hydrofoiling electric ferry

- March 14, 2024 2 MIN READ
The Candela P-12
An artist's impression of the Candela P-12 on Lake Manapōuri, New Zealand

A New Zealand lake will be home to the world’s first electric hydrofoiling ferry, used to transport workers to a hydro power station. 

The Swedish-made Candela P-12 electric hydrofoil ferry will offer daily transport for workers at Manapōuri Power Station, Aotearoa’s largest hydro plant, on World Heritage-listed Lake Manapōuri, voted the country’s most beautiful lake.

The power station’s owner, Meridian Energy, has signed with the Swedish startup, for a Candela P-12, as the first customer outside of Europe to delivery of the electric shuttle ferry, which can carry 30 passengers at speeds of up to 30 knots (55.6kmh).

At a cruise speed of 25 knots, the vessel’s wake is less than 15cm high, and will minimise disruption to the shoreline of Lake Manapōuri – part of a UNESCO World Heritage Area.

Candela, which builds “flying electric boats” – speedboats that foil – is hoping its electric water taxi will be adopted in Venice to reduce the wake water currently damaging the city.

The foils – underwater wings – reduce energy consumption by 80% compared to a traditional motorboat.

Candela estimates it will save 240 tons of carbon emissions annually, equivalent to taking 52 petrol cars off the road.

The Candela P-12 is expected to begin operating on Lake Manapouri in 2025.

Tania Palmer, Meridian’s GM of Generation, said the shift to an electric ferry will contribute to the company’s goal of halving its emissions by 2030.

“We have to be bold and innovative to reduce emissions. This deal is the result of a global search to identify the latest and best technology for our needs, and one that’s suitable for such an incredible natural environment,” she said.

“The Candela P-12 is an exciting replacement for the diesel ferry we currently use to transport people across the lake to the power station. It’ll drastically reduce emissions and, at the same time, give our team what’s arguably the best and most spectacular commute in the world.”

The computer-guided hydrofoils are managed by a Flight controller that prevents the motion sickness-inducing pitching and slamming found in other ships. The Flight controller uses sensors to measure the wave height in front of the vessel, and then adjusts the hydrofoils’ angle of attack 100 times per second for a smoother ride.

The Stockholm-based marine tech company, founded in 2014, has developed an electric boats range that spans leisure to commercial craft and its electric ferries are being used in Stockholm.

The recreational boats, the Candela C-7 and bigger C-8, arrived in New Zealand last via a partnership with Next Generation Boats.

The offer 50 nautical mile range on a charge – around 2 hrs at 24 knots.