Kaohsiung City Government in Taiwan has launched a new hybrid electric ferry named Ferry Happiness, which is the first of its kind in Asia.

The newly launched passenger ferry serves Cijian Island in Kaohsiung, and has been retrofitted with an electric propulsion system provided by Finnish firm Visedo. The company worked with Taiwan’s Ship and Ocean Industries R&D Center (SOIC) to complete the ferry's revamping process, during which the vessel's original diesel engines were also replaced.

Ferry Happiness is estimated to help save more than 25,000l of fuel every year and is capable of carrying 15,000 passengers every day.

The electric propulsion of the 100t, 23m-long vessel has been designed to ensure pure electric cruising for half the ferry’s operation time.

"Visedo has developed a cost-effective and efficient alternative so that harbour cities can swap noisy, dirty and expensive diesel for silent electric powertrains."

Visedo CEO Kimmo Rauma said: “Given the geography, ferries are a vital mode of public transport across East and Southeast Asia but they are also the most energy intensive per kilometer travelled. Until now, diesel ferries have been a dirty but necessary part of life around harbours like Kaohsiung.

“In Hong Kong for example, passenger ferries make up the majority of licensed vessels in Victoria Harbour, where it’s estimated air pollution kills about 3,200 people every year.

“Visedo has developed a cost-effective and efficient alternative, so rather than waiting until a vessel’s service life ends, harbour cities can swap noisy, dirty and expensive diesel for silent electric powertrains that are more efficient, can halve fuel costs and emit no fumes or oil pollution.”

Kaohsiung City Government is also planning to retrofit the rest of its diesel fleet to help reduce pollution levels around its harbour.

Image: Kaohsiung ‘s newly retrofitted Ferry Happiness. Photo: courtesy of Visedo Oy.