Inductive charging system suits electric ferries

German company IPT Technology has introduced an inductive charging system for battery electric ferries. The system can achieve charging capacities of up to 100 kW. This wireless ship charging is already being used in a first project in Norway.

The project in Norway is particularly special: It is a ferry that connects the districts of the southern Norwegian city of Fredrikstad with each other via a river. As the 15-metre-long passenger ferry with space for up to 50 passengers is in operation 24/7, long charging breaks in the concept phase for switching to an electric ferry were ruled out. Charging cables were too impractical for many short charging stops. With the current inductive solution, the ferry’s batteries are charged while passengers board and disembark.

On average, up to 150 short charging processes take place. The charging stops only last 112 seconds on average, which means that it is only possible to charge two kilowatt-hours per stop. Due to the frequency of charging stops, however, this is sufficient to keep the battery level in the electric ferry at around 72 per cent.

IPT also offers inductive charging systems for electric buses and electric cars but sees the new ferry application as a major growth area. “The shipping sector has enormous growth potential and is still in its infancy when it comes to electromobility,” the company writes in their accompanying press release. The inductive charging systems are particularly suitable for charging watercraft for a number of reasons, for example, they do not suffer from water accumulating in plug connections, the system is “extremely reliable in harsh marine climates” – and in Norway also insensitive to ice and snow. At present, the charging system for electric ships can be operated by a single person; in the future, autonomous operation will also be possible, according to IPT.

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