The Norwegian company Fjords DA has confirmed that is building a sister ship to the diesel-electric plug-in hybrid Vision of the Fjords, launched in 2016. The new 42-meter long carbon fiber vessel, Future of the Fjords, will be all electric and completely emission free. The new ship is expected to be launched in April 2018.
Currently under construction at specialist shipbuilder Brødrene Aa, the new vessel retains Vision of the Fjords’ design and environmentally friendly build, with a hull that minimizes wake and reduces shoreline impact erosion.
The new DNV GL classed ‘light craft’ will be propelled by two 300kW electric motors, enabling cruising speeds of 16 knots along the fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen. Work to develop the charging infrastructure to enable its planned 700 trips a year is currently in the early stages with local supplier Aurland Energiverk.
Future of the Fjords will cost NOK 144 million ($17 million), marking a significant increase over Vision of the Fjords NOK 90 million price tag. Much of the extra investment is the result of opting for an all-electric solution. Enova, an organization promoting low emission solutions and backed by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, has provided NOK 17.8 million to the project.
Norwegian-headquartered environmental campaigner Bellona is also supporting the project. Frederic Hauge, Bellona’s Founder and President, says the new ship marks a “fantastic” development for tourism in the region and states that the Fjords are “an example to follow for the rest of the industry.”
He adds that tighter regulations from both national and local authorities are now required to protect the area, noting: “We must dare to define requirements regarding how our precious World Heritage fjords are managed and experienced. In the future tourists coming to see our pristine nature will not accept anything less than emission-free experiences. The Fjords is now demonstrating that this is possible, from both an operational and business perspective.”
The Fjords operates seven tourist ships in the Western Norwegian fjords, providing the only year round voyages. With the backing of Fjord1 and Flåm AS, the shipowner has embarked on an ambitious program of fleet renewal to provide vessels that deliver optimal passenger experiences with minimal environmental impact.