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Hurtigruten plans electric catamarans for polar excursions

The electric-powered explorer catamaran Brim will operate from Longyearbyen, Svalbard RENDERING: Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten plans to introduce a silent, electric-powered and emission-free catamaran for excursions in Svalbard, starting in spring 2020.

The company partnered with Norwegian start-up Brim Explorer on Bard, a 24-meter vessel, which will be based at Longyearbyen and operate under the Hurtigruten Svalbard brand.

'Brim and Hurtigruten found each other through our common passion for the oceans. Their vision to change the way people experience the Arctic is a perfect match to our bold sustainability ambitions. We firmly believe the future of travel is emission-free,' Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said.

10 hours at 10 knots

Featuring large battery packs, the hybrid catamaran will be one of the world’s most flexible electric ships. It can be charged at virtually any port and with battery capacity of 800 kWh can operate on electric power for 10 hours at a cruising speed of 10 knots.

'A green footprint is the future of the travel industry, in the polar regions and elsewhere,' Brim Explorer co-founder and CEO Agnes Árnadóttir said.

2019: Lofoten and northern Norway

Brim Explorer’s first vessel — similar to Bard, that will operate exclusively under the Hurtigruten Svalbard brand — is currently under construction in Norway. Due to debut in August, it will offer Hurtigruten passengers along the Norwegian coast excursions to the Lofoten Islands (spring and summer), based from Svolvær, and northern lights voyages (winter) from Tromsø.

With their clean, futuristic design, both 140-passenger ships feature large windows and outdoor seating for 80.

'At Hurtigruten, we demand that partners adapt the same, strict standards on sustainability as we follow,' Skjeldam said, adding that his company is 'challenging the industry to move in a greener direction. Together we can offer an experience that is truly unique and sustainable, both for our guests and the communities and areas we visit.'

Locally sourced food, hydrophones, underwater drones

Premium, locally sourced food will be available. The explorer catamarans will also feature hydrophones and underwater drones from another Norwegian start-up already partnering with Hurtigruten, Blueye Robotics. Their drones will be introduced to several of Hurtigruten’s expedition cruise ships, as well as all Brim Explorer experiences.

Follows Future of the Fjords

Hurtigruten and Brim Explorer follow another Norwegian company, The Fjords, which in 2018 introduced an all-electric catamaran, the 400-passenger Future of the Fjords, to sail between Flåm and Gudvangen. This came after Vision of The Fjords, a diesel-electric hybrid.