Aquabus makes its first battery-electric conversion on an existing boat

Jun 1 2022, 9:40 pm

One of the boats of the Aquabus fleet, operating in Vancouver’s inner harbour of False Creek, has just undergone a conversion into battery-electric capability.

And it could be the first of many to come.

The passenger-only ferry service has retrofitted one of its oldest boats, named Bus 2, which previously used a regular diesel engine.

Edwin Poulston with Aquabus told Daily Hive Urbanized the conversion work took nearly one year to complete and cost about three times more than a regular diesel engine.

But they expect the significantly lower cost of electricity as the fuel source and the lower maintenance costs from having fewer moving engine parts will offset the higher upfront cost over time.

Aquabus mini ferry

Aquabus vessel. (Paul Cordick)

He adds that the boat can run for about six to seven hours on a full charge.

“We have found it works better to run the boat in the morning, then take a one-hour break in the middle of the day, then run the boat in the evening,” said Poulston in an email.

“We are planning on slowly outfitting the rest of our smaller boats over time.”

Aquabus, one of the two private passenger-only ferry services operating in False Creek, has a total fleet size of 14 boats, including eight deemed to be “cyquabuses,” which can accommodate not only regular passengers but also bikes, strollers, and wheelchairs. Aquabus has been operating in the inner harbour since Expo ’86.

AquaBus Granville Bridge False Creek

AquaBus in False Creek. (Shutterstock)

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