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July 29, 2019   |   IEEE Spectrum


Happiness Is a Hybrid [Diesel]-Electric Ferry

Happiness now shuttles about 4,500 passengers a day—1.7 million per year—on a short hop across Kaohsiung Harbor. The plucky little ferry doesn’t look like a trendsetter, but it is. Since its introduction, dozens of other hybrid-electric and fully electric ferries have been unveiled around the world, and the number is growing year by year.

Rather than designing a new vessel from scratch for this experiment, we opted to retrofit an existing diesel boat. This decision was driven mainly by cost considerations: Because our focus was on the electrical and propulsion systems, we figured that starting with a boat that was already proven to be seaworthy was the more practical and economical option. The cost of retrofitting Happiness came to $400,000. By comparison, a later hybrid-electric ferry that we built from scratch cost about $2 million.

Click below to read more details on how the hybrid diesel-electric retrofit was carried out.

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