High-Speed, Zero-Emission, Battery-Powered Ferry Planned for New York

battery-powered ferry
New York Water Taxi plans to launch the battery-powered ferry in 2024 (Green City)

Published Nov 4, 2022 6:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

Plans were announced for the first high-speed zero-emissions electric ferry in New York Harbor. In recent decades, New York City has seen a resurgence of its waterborne transit system supported by the city government. It has become an integral part of both the commuter transit system and a popular means of travel for the city’s tourists.

New York Water Taxi, which was launched twenty years ago as one of the first with the vision of reclaiming New York Harbor for transportation and recreation, said it plans to launch the new foil-assisted catamaran developed by Sweden’s Green City Ferries. The new vessel is expected to enter service by the spring of 2024 operating on New York Water Taxi’s routes on the Hudson River and sailing between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The company currently operates a fleet of diesel ferries carrying between 64 and 149 passengers. Since 2017, New York Water Taxi has been owned by New York Cruise Lines, which also operates New York’s iconic Circle Line tourist boats.

“As a leader and innovator in the international marine industry, we are incredibly excited to bring our technology to New York City," said Hans Thornell, chairman of Green City Ferries. The Swedish startup last year unveiled designs for its BELUGA24, a ferry based on proven air-foil technology. A foil placed midships lifts the ship halfway out of the water at high speed and thereby reducing the water resistance significantly. According to the company, it will use less energy and create less wake wash while traveling at speeds up to 30 knots. 

The Beluga24 will have a capacity of 147 passengers and 28 bicycles. The vessel will use a carbon-fiber construction with the foil-assisted Teknicraft design. The vessel employs a BAE Systems driveline, Echandia power management, Toshiba batteries, and Hamiltonjet high-speed waterjets.

“New York Water Taxi has been working to bring cleaner, more efficient ferry service to New York Harbor and we have found the right partner in Green City Ferries," said Craig Kanarick, CEO of New York Cruise Lines. "We can’t wait to thrill our passengers with this ultra-luxurious, zero-emission experience, and together change the public perception of how ferries can improve lives in our city and around the world.”

The companies are promising that the vessel will offer a new level of experience for travelers featuring an ultra-quiet, high-speed, low-vibration performance. It uses a fast-charging battery system.

The collaboration with New York Cruise Lines and New York Water Taxi is Green City’s first U.S. customer. The company reports that it plans to introduce its first vessels in early 2023 operated in Stockholm, Sweden.