Tourist ship owner and operator The Fjords has taken delivery of a vessel it believes sets new standards for environmentally responsible passenger transport. Future of The Fjords, a42m long carbon fibre 400 PAX all-electric catamaran, will begin operation in mid-May, making around 700 yearly round tripsalong the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage listed fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen. It is the first vessel of its kind to offer completely emission free transport through the beautiful, yet fragile, Western Norwegian landscape.
Future of The Fjords is the sister ship to Vision of The Fjords, a diesel electric hybrid launched to universal acclaim in 2016. Although both ships are designed and constructed by Norwegian shipyard Brødrene Aa, with hulls that mirror the zigzagging mountain paths they sail beside, they are very different once you scratch the surface, as The Fjords CEO Rolf Sandvik explains:
“It is our mission to safeguard the vulnerable environment we give access to, while providing the absolute optimal experience for our passengers,” he notes. “With Future of The Fjords it’s mission accomplished.
“Vision of The Fjords was an important development for us, but we had the ambition to take it one step further and replace the diesel electric propulsion with all-electric – thus eradicating all noise and emissions to air for the entire route. Future of The Fjords does just that, minimising its impact on the environment while maximising the experience of passengers who can now glide silently over the water and come closer to nature than ever before. Taking this delivery is a very proud day for us, and for our progressive owners Fjord1 and Flåm AS. The Future has arrived!”
The NOK 144 million vessel is propelled by two 450kW electric motors, enabling cruising speeds of 16 knotsalong the spectacular 90 minute each way voyage. In another first, The Fjords has, in partnership with Brødrene Aa, developed a unique charging solution called the Power Dock.
This 40m long, 5m wide floating glass fibre dock will sit in the water at Gudvangen, housing a 2.4 MWh battery pack. This charges steadily throughout the day via connection to the local grid network, which does not have the capacity to charge the Future of The Fjords directly. The innovative solution allows the vessel to stably, efficiently and cost effectively ‘refill’ in just 20 minutes.
What’s more, the dock also stores consumables, fuel for sister vessels, and allows black water to be offloaded for treatment on land. This makes Future of The Fjords the only passenger vesselnot to discharge sewage directly into the fjords.
“We can’t wait to welcome our first passengers on-board for the trip of a lifetime,” Sandvik concludes. “We now hope Future of the Fjords can become a benchmark for environmentally responsible vessel operators worldwide, ushering in a new breed of clean, green and spectacular passenger transport.”
The Fjords is dedicated to moving its passengers. Operating a fleet of seven tourism and transport vessels on the Western Norwegian fjords of Nærøyfjord, Sognefjord, Hjørundfjord Geirangerfjord and Lysefjord, the company aims to connect customers not just to their destinations, but also to the unique natural beauty that surrounds them. The Fjords is co-owned 50/50 by Fjord1, Norway’s largest ferry company, and Flåm AS, which works to promote Flåm’s world-class tourism opportunities.
The Fjord1 Group
The Fjord1 Group is one of the major transportation companies in Norway. The core operational area for the company is sea-based transport, by ferries- and passenger vessels. In addition, the company has operations in relation to catering, travel agency and property management. Fjord1 AS is owned by Havila AS and the County council of Sogn and Fjordane.
Flåm AS is a leading provider of tourist attractions in the fjords and mountains of western Norway and the global marketing and sales arm of the Flåm tourist business cluster including world class attractions such as the Flåmsbana railroad and The Fjords’ cruises in UNESCO world heritage fjords. Flåm AS is owned by SIVA (a Norwegian state business development company), Aurland municipality and Aurland Savings Bank.
Press Release: Fjord