Future of The Fjords, a 42mtr long carbon fibre all-electric catamaran with 400 passenger capacity, will begin operation in mid-May, making around 700 yearly round trips along the UNESCO World Heritage listed fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen.
Cruise passengers arriving in Flam this summer will be among the first tourists to sail on the new vessel, the first of its kind to offer completely emission free transport through the fragile, Western Norwegian landscape.
Two environmentally-friendly sightseeing vessels
Future of The Fjords is the sister ship to Vision of The Fjords, a diesel electric hybrid launched to universal acclaim in 2016/17 and a finalist in last year's Seatrade Cruise Awards, Environmental Initiative category.
Although both ships are designed and constructed by Norwegian shipyard Brødrene Aa, with hulls that mirror the zigzagging mountain paths they sail beside, they are very different once you scratch the surface, as The Fjords ceo Rolf Sandvik explains: ‘It is our mission to safeguard the vulnerable environment we give access to, while providing the absolute optimal experience for our passengers,’ he notes.
‘With Future of The Fjords it’s mission accomplished. Replacing the diesel electric propulsion with all-electric has eradicated all noise and emissions to air for the entire route.’
The NOK144m vessel is propelled by two 450kW electric motors, enabling cruising speeds of 16 knots along the spectacular 90 minute each way voyage.
Unique charging solution called the Power Dock
In another first, The Fjords has, in partnership with Brødrene Aa, developed a unique charging solution called the Power Dock, a 40mtr long, 5mtr wide floating glass fibre dock will sit in the water at Gudvangen, housing a 2.4 MWh battery pack.
This charges steadily throughout the day via connection to the local grid network, which does not have the capacity to charge the Future of The Fjords directly. The innovative solution allows the vessel to stably, efficiently and cost effectively ‘refill’ in 20 minutes.
The dock also stores consumables, fuel for sister vessels, and allows black water to be offloaded for treatment on land.
‘We hope Future of the Fjords can become a benchmark for environmentally responsible vessel operators worldwide, ushering in a new breed of clean, green and spectacular passenger transport.’