State/National/WorldNews Briefs

Hybrid electric ferry takes maiden voyage on San Francisco Bay

Gov. Brown makes event stage for signing 16 new clean energy laws aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

SAN FRANCISCO (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — On Sept. 13 the first-of-a-kind hybrid ferry took its maiden voyage in the San Francisco Bay.

The new Red and White Fleet’s sightseeing ferry, christened Enhydra, is the largest plug-in hybrid electric passenger vessel built from the keel up under U.S. Coast Guard regulations.           The vessel at 128 feet in length has a capacity of 600 passengers on its three decks.

Enhydra, which was launched on Aug. 13 in Bellingham Washington, is RWF’s first step towards its goal of reaching a zero emissions fleet by 2025. The hybrid drive system operates much the same as a plug-in Prius, efficiently moving from all electric to mechanical-electric mode depending on load and providing no less than 20 to 30 percent fuel savings. Additionally, the onboard permanent magnet generators are powered by EPA Tier 3 engines run on 100 percent biofuel, further reducing emissions with a 30-80 percent lower carbon intensity and lower criteria emissions than fossil fuel.

The hybrid architecture allows overnight charging of the battery packs, offsetting fuel consumption with green energy supplied from San Francisco PUC’s hydro-electricity. Further, the design of the propulsion system anticipates moving the vessel to full electric with upsized battery packs. RWF is actively working on the shoreside infrastructure required to provide fast charging to these larger battery packs, and once the charging capacity is installed, Enhydra and the rest of the RWF will move to all electric operation.

Gov. Jerry Brown used the new ferry’s maiden voyage as a backdrop for signing 16 new laws aimed at increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles and charging stations and reducing the number of heavily polluting cars and trucks.

“Whether we travel by car, bus or boat the need to move to zero-emission transportation is urgent,” Brown said in a statement.

A report from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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