Wireless charging system suits electric ferries

With limited bridges crossing the Glomma river, Fredrikstad, Norway, has relied heavily on ferries since its founding in 1567. However, to reduce car traffic and resultant air pollution, it made the service free-of-charge. It added two new 50-passenger, 15m x 5m electric vessels from Swede Ship and keen to provide greener alternatives for passengers.

The fast turnaround of ferries makes traditional shore power charging time-prohibitive, especially for single-person operations. So instead, as the vessel’s port side hull meets the dock, the wireless charging pad begins the power cycle as soon as the captain lowers the bow door.

This specific system can achieve charging capacities of up to 100 kW (and can be easily expanded by placing multiple charging pads next to each other). The project in Norway is exceptional: It is a ferry that connects the districts of the southern Norwegian city of Fredrikstad with each other via a river. As the 15-metre-long passenger ferry with space for up to 50 passengers is in operation 24/7, long charging breaks in the concept phase for switching to an electric ferry were ruled out. In addition, charging cables were too impractical for many short charging stops. With our wireless inductive solution, the ferry’s batteries are charged while passengers board and disembark.

IPT has developed a fully automated wireless charging system for a smooth and safe transfer of energy from shore to ship. A great new market application for electric ships like ferries, for example. Wireless charging is best suited for uses with a high number of charging periods per day. Water and electricity go perfectly well together using induction technology and therefore exceptionally reliable in harsh maritime climates.

On average, up to 150 short charging processes take place. The charging stops only last 112 seconds on average, which means that it is only possible to charge almost three kilowatt-hours per stop. Nevertheless, the frequency of charging stops is sufficient to keep the battery level in the electric ferry at around 72 per cent.

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Your benefits at a glance

  • Safety & Availability:
    • High safety solution
    • Excellent weather protection
    • No galvanic cable connections ship to shore
    • High availability
    • A broad margin for movement ship versus shore
    • Immune to ice and snow
    • Water & electricity go well together using induction technology
  • The total cost of ownership (TCO):
    • Low wear and tear
    • Low lifecycle cost
    • High efficiency (> 92%)
    • A high charging time ratio
    • One person operation
  • Future proof:
    • Ready for autonomous operation

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