Universal Marine Services converts ferry to electric

A vessel from the Mount Batten Ferry service fleet has had her engine replaced with a new electronic drive propulsion system and solar charging capability.

Copper, the smaller of the Mount Batten Ferry business’ fleet, has undergone her transformation to electric power over the last few months as the service has been closed to passengers due to the ongoing pandemic. The Mount Batten Ferry usually runs daily, all year round between The Barbican and Mount Batten in Plymouth.

The electric drive install was designed and fitted in-house by Universal Marine Services, which owns and operates the Mount Batten Ferry service, with the help of a local engineering company, Flint Engineering. Universal Marine Services can now carry out a range of electric drive installs.

Copper’s sister ferry, Sulphar, has also had her diesel engines replaced with two fuel efficient smaller Beta engine units.

“A year ago we launched the Port of Plymouth air quality strategy and invited our stakeholders to input into the strategy and consider and implement any new ideas that they may be able to adopt to improve air quality,” says CEO and harbour master for Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, captain Richard Allan.

“With the installation of the Plymouth City Council charging points on the Barbican Landing Stage, and Copper’s new electric engine and solar charging capability, this is another hugely positive step forward as part of the port’s commitment to improving air quality. We congratulate captain Stevens and his team for making this conversion to electric and look forward to welcoming Copper back into service in the coming months.”

Copper was chosen for an electric drive retrofit as it is one of Plymouth’s busiest ferries and operates daily between The Barbican and Mount Batten,” says captain Dan Stevens, owner of Universal Marine Services. “She made an ideal vessel to trial a new electric drive and will hopefully make a great addition, and leap forward, to zero carbon emission transport for Plymouth’s waters.”

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