Electric hydrofoiling ferry to service New Zealand’s Lake Manapōuri

Small white ferry uplifted out of water on red foils with cloud covered mountains in background of still, reflective lake

Arguably New Zealand’s most beautiful lake, Lake Manapōuri, will be getting a high-tech upgrade. Meridian Energy is set to operate an electric hydrofoiling ferry, the Candela P-12, there in 2025.

Candela says the move into ferries is its ‘next big thing’. And it’s able to do that as electric foiling is no longer seen as a novelty. The company’s been on MIN‘s radar for a few years, when it jumped into the public’s gaze by showcasing its foiling capabilities through Venice’s waterways. One of its major selling points at that time was lack of wake, and this has been key to the contract with Lake Manapōuri, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Area and home to many indigenous species, including longfin eel.

The Swedish-made electric hydrofoil ferry will be providing daily transport for the staff and contractors servicing the country’s largest hydro power station, Manapōuri Power Station. The current estimate is that it’ll save 240 tons of carbon emissions each year – equivalent to taking 52 petrol cars off the road.

“We have to be bold and innovative to reduce emissions. This deal is the result of a global search to identify the latest and best technology for our needs, and one that’s suitable for such an incredible natural environment,” says Tania Palmer, Meridian’s GM of Generation. The company’s goal is to halve its emissions by 2030.

“The Candela P-12 is an exciting replacement for the diesel ferry we currently use to transport people across the lake to the power station. It’ll drastically reduce emissions and, at the same time, give our team what’s arguably the best and most spectacular commute in the world.”

Meridian will be the first customer outside Europe to take delivery of the electric shuttle ferry.

Flying on computer-guided hydrofoils, the P-12’s hull rises above the water at high speed, which reduces energy consumption by a 80 per cent when compared to traditional vessels, and allows for long range and high-speed travel using battery power only. At a cruise speed of 25 knots, the wake is less than 15cm high (watch below).

“We’re excited to partner with a global leader in the transition to sustainable energy and global decarbonisation and thrilled to soon see our P-12 in action on Lake Manapōuri,” says Gustav Hasselskog, Candela‘s CEO.

After five years of research and development, Candela began producing its electric hydrofoil leisure boats in 2019. It termed its Candela C-7 open, the ‘roadster of the seas’. That was followed in 2021 by the high-volume market Candela C-8. The latter won numerous awards including the 2022 European Powerboat of the Year award for its superior seakeeping, long range, and high speed.

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