Elliott Bay to design new hybrid ferries for Washington state


The following is text of a news release from Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG):

(SEATTLE) — Elliott Bay Design Group was recently selected by Vigor Fab as the engineering firm that will provide functional design for the new hybrid-electric Olympic-class ferries for Washington State Ferries (WSF). EBDG is responsible for redesigning the vessels to accommodate the major change in propulsion type without disrupting structural components. The ferries will operate on all-battery power during crossings or can revert to a hybrid, diesel-electric propulsion if required. Battery recharging will typically occur dockside at the terminals during offloading/loading procedures.

Earlier this year, Washington state's Legislature authorized a contract extension for Vigor to build up to five hybrid-electric versions of their 144-vehicle Olympic class. The newbuild authorization is a direct result of the 2040 Long Range Plan that identified the initial aspects of vessel and terminal electrification. EBDG was a participant of the plan and is now leading the effort for an additional, supporting addendum – the WSF System Electrification Plan. The System Electrification Plan will identify a detailed plan for deploying hybrid-electric vessels throughout the ferry system.

EBDG brings a unique advantage to the project team with experience gained from design work on the last 20 vessels built for WSF. Further, EBDG has been a major contributor to WSF's electrification efforts thus far by supporting hybrid feasibility studies and life-cycle cost analyses for both the Jumbo Mark II and Olympic class ferries.

Washington State Ferries operates the largest ferry system in the United States, with 23 vessels, 20 terminals and 23 million passengers. The new ferry will utilize hybrid-electric propulsion, tapping clean Northwest hydropower. The hybrid-electric design phase is underway with construction expected to begin in 2020 and delivery of the first vessel in late 2022. The vessel is expected to be the largest newbuild battery-powered ferry in North America.

By Professional Mariner Staff