KiwiRail opts for VIKING’s Torqeedo-powered electric lifecraft

2023-10-13T17:13:30+00:00 October 13th, 2023|Safety|

KiwiRail’s new 1,900 pax diesel electric hybrid ropaxes will be fitted with VIKING’s new patented lifecraft system powered by Torqeedo.

The InterIslander ferries, which will operate across New Zealand’s Cook Strait, when delivered in 2025, will be fitted with the survival craft each powered by Torqeedo’s high thrust electric propulsion system.

The system has been designed to be ultra compact, require little maintenance and will help evacuate hundreds of people should it become necessary.

Traditional lifeboats fitted with combustion engines take up valuable space on board a ship and will probably not be used in a vessel’s lifecycle.

However, they must be ready for launch at very short notice, which requires frequent safety checks, drills and maintenance.

VIKING’s 203 pax capacity lifecraft is a motorised inflatable vessel attached to a passenger chute system and fitted with battery electric propulsion units and is designed to be deployed from a compact and lightweight shipboard storage/launch system.

Electric drives were specified, as they are claimed to be ultra reliable and don’t require frequent access to fuel oil and ignition systems for maintenance or pre-departure safety checks.

Each lifecraft’s propulsive package consists of four cruise electric pod drives powered by Power 24-3500 lithium batteries.

One motor is installed at each corner of the craft both for redundancy and manoeuvrability.

“With four lifecraft in each system, we save space on board, deliver superior manoeuvrability and can evacuate more than 800 people in 30 mins,” Nils Fraende, VIKING’s Vice President of Sales for Cruise and Lifecraft, claimed.

“The lifecraft eliminates dangerous lifeboat drills and can also be usec to perform search and rescue operations if another vessel in the area requires support, boosting passenger and crew safety in the Cook Strait as a whole, “he said.

“VIKING’s lifecraft is truly innovative and so is its electric drive system, which must deliver the highest reliability. The Torqeedo team has enjoyed participating in the lifecraft’s development and we’re thrilled to see its first implementation in KiwiRail’s new ferries,” added Fabian Bez, Torqeedo’s CEO.

“Torqeedo’s electric drives enable all sorts of next generation tech, from foiling speedboats to large sailing yachts and lifesaving equipment. Congratulations to all involved in this industry first, “ he said.

The ship’s crew are able to check the system’s readiness with a touch of a button from the bridge.