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EBDG PROVIDES DESIGN FOR ELECTRIFICATION OF WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES

Friday, October 25, 2019 

Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) of Seattle has been selected by Vigor Fab to provide functional design for the hybrid-electric Olympic Class ferries for Washington State Ferries (WSF).

EBDG will be responsible for vessel redesign 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 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 authorised a contract extension for Vigor to build up to five hybrid-electric versions of their 144-vehicle Olympic Class.  The new-build authorisation 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 its experience gained from design work on the last 20 vessels built for WSF.  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.  "We have supported WSF with naval architecture and engineering support since 1992," said Brian King, President of EBDG.  "Our involvement in the hybridisation of the ferries is a natural progression that we are immensely proud to be a part of."

WSF operates the largest ferry system in the United States, with 23 vessels, 20 terminals and 23 million passengers.  The new ferry will utilise 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 new-build battery-powered ferry in North America.

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