Naval architecture and marine engineering firm Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) has won a contract to design new hybrid-electric Olympic Class ferries for Washington State Ferries (WSF).

The shipbuilder Vigor Fab has awarded the contract to EBDG. According to the contract, the company will redesign the ship without affecting its structural components so that it can integrate a new type of propulsion system.

Powered by an all-battery driven system, the ferry will be able to return to a hybrid, diesel-electric propulsion, according to the operational requirement.

WSF has previously contracted Vigor to construct up to five hybrid-electric versions of their 144-vehicle Olympic Class.

The new contract forms part of the 2040 Long Range Plan, which identifies the ship and terminal electrification’s initial aspects.

Being a member of the Long Range Plan, EBDG is now spearheading the WSF System Electrification Plan.

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The System Electrification Plan offers a comprehensive strategy that focuses on deploying hybrid-electric vessels across the ferry system.

The naval architecture firm has designed the last 20 ships for WSF. The company will be a major contributor to WSF’s electrification initiatives.

EBDG will also extend its support for lifecycle cost analyses for the Jumbo Mark II and Olympic Class ships.

EBDG president said: “We have supported WSF with naval architecture and engineering support since 1992.

“Our involvement in the hybridisation of the ferries is a natural progression that we are immensely proud to be a part of.”

With a fleet of 23 ships and 20 terminals, WSF operates one of the largest ferry systems in the US. It transports 23 million passengers a year.

The design of the hybrid-electric is currently being developed, while the construction work is likely to start next year.

The first vessel is scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2022.