A Groundbreaking Swedish Hydrofoil Ferry Aims to Revolutionize Waterway Travel

by Chloe Baker
Electric Hydrofoil Ferry

The quest for sustainable public transportation is a global priority, particularly in cities cradled by waterways. In Sweden, an innovative electric ferry could soon redefine maritime transit standards.

Cruising silently through the Stockholm archipelago, Candela, an electric boat manufacturer, has introduced its P-12 model. This vessel skims over the water’s surface, lifted over a meter high by hydrofoils. The P-12’s unveiling signals a potential transformation in aquatic public transportation.

Erik Eklund, head of Candela’s commercial vessel division, expressed excitement about this technological leap. “The efficiency gains from the hydrofoil’s airborne state are substantial, offering the speed and range necessary for battery operation,” he noted.

Uniquely designed, the P-12 can transport 30 passengers at speeds up to 30 knots (56 km/h or 35 mph), outpacing other electric ferries. Its lift comes from carbon fiber hydrofoil wings, minimizing water resistance.

Candela’s innovative design is said to reduce energy consumption per passenger-kilometer by a staggering 95% compared to current diesel ferries in the Stockholm archipelago—a breathtaking expanse of thousands of islands in the Baltic Sea.

The P-12 also skirts Stockholm’s 12-knot speed limit, thanks to its negligible wake production—a boon for avoiding waterway congestion and shoreline erosion.

Set for a nine-month trial beginning in July, the P-12 will connect Ekero’s suburbs with Stockholm’s city center, slashing commute times from 55 to 25 minutes.

The company is drawing insights from its smaller electric hydrofoil leisure craft. Onboard, engineers are perfecting the hydrofoils, controlled by a computer to adapt to sea conditions and neutralize wave impacts. This technology allows operation in waves up to two meters.

Candela anticipates that cities like San Francisco, New York, and Venice will follow Stockholm’s lead in electrifying maritime public transport.

Gustav Hemming, Stockholm’s Regional Executive Board Vice President, affirmed the city’s commitment to expanding waterborne public transport. “We believe this is a crucial step in enhancing the appeal of public transit,” he declared.

In 2022, Stockholm’s water transit journeys reached 6.2 million, marking the fastest growth in public transport post-COVID-19. Hemming emphasized the environmental and economic benefits of utilizing existing waterways over constructing new roads.

Hydrofoil technology, though over a century old, faced challenges in widespread adoption due to cost and maintenance issues. However, advancements in lightweight carbon fiber and efficient electric motors are ushering in a new era for public transport.

Arash Eslamdoost, an associate professor at Chalmers University of Technology, highlighted the potential of hydrofoils in overcoming the limitations of battery technology for marine vessels.

Internationally, the development of hydrofoil electric passenger ferries is gaining momentum. The U.K.’s Artemis Technologies plans to launch a fully electric hydrofoil ferry between Belfast and Bangor, potentially next year.

Robin Cook from the Swedish Transport Agency acknowledges the maritime sector’s readiness for transformation. He stressed the importance of port infrastructure adapting to and fostering these innovations, particularly in onshore power connectivity for ships.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Electric Hydrofoil Ferry

What is the Candela P-12 electric hydrofoil ferry?

The Candela P-12 is an innovative electric ferry that uses hydrofoil technology to glide above the water, significantly reducing energy consumption and increasing speed compared to traditional ferries. Designed by Candela, a Swedish electric boat manufacturer, it is poised to revolutionize waterborne public transportation with its silent operation and eco-friendly design.

How does the Candela P-12 differ from traditional ferries?

The Candela P-12 stands out due to its use of carbon fiber hydrofoil wings that lift the vessel above the water, drastically reducing drag. This design allows it to reach speeds of up to 30 knots (56 km/h or 35 mph) while consuming 95% less energy per passenger-kilometer than conventional diesel ferries.

Where is the Candela P-12 ferry being tested?

The P-12 ferry is undergoing trials in the Stockholm archipelago, with a planned nine-month pilot project connecting the Stockholm suburb of Ekero to the city center. This service aims to cut down travel time significantly compared to conventional public transport.

What are the environmental benefits of the P-12 ferry?

The P-12 ferry offers substantial environmental benefits, including reduced carbon emissions and energy consumption. Its hydrofoil technology and electric propulsion system make it a cleaner and more efficient alternative to diesel-powered vessels, aligning with global efforts to reduce the environmental impact of transportation.

What is the potential impact of the P-12 on public transportation?

The introduction of the P-12 could mark a significant shift in public transportation, particularly in cities with extensive waterways. By offering a faster, quieter, and more environmentally friendly mode of water transit, it could encourage a greater shift towards sustainable public transport options globally.

More about Electric Hydrofoil Ferry

  • Candela Electric Boats
  • Hydrofoil Technology Overview
  • Stockholm Public Transportation
  • Sustainable Maritime Innovations
  • Electric Ferry Developments in the UK

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TechGuyRon November 17, 2023 - 6:43 pm

Impressive tech but what about the cost? always feels like these green solutions are more expensive initially.

Mike_in_SV November 17, 2023 - 8:41 pm

I’m curious about the battery life on these things, how often do they need to charge?

Jenny Waters November 18, 2023 - 5:53 am

Wow this is really cool, electric ferries could really change things, especially in cities with lots of waterways like Venice or Amsterdam!

BoatEnthusiast92 November 18, 2023 - 11:40 am

Hyrdofoils are not new, but combining them with electric motors is pretty innovative, curious to see if this takes off globally

SustainableSarah November 18, 2023 - 1:14 pm

Love seeing green tech in public transport. It’s about time we start taking care of our planet


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