KiwiRail has selected MAN Energy Solutions to supply the main generator engines for its new hybrid-electric fleet.
The Inter-island Resilient Connection (iReX) programme is a $1.45 bill investment, which will see KiwiRail’s two new, rail-enabled ferries coming into service in 2025 and 2026, and the construction of new terminal areas in Waitohi Picton and Kaiwharawhara Wellington.
“The MAN 32/44CR 4-stroke engine has proven itself over approximately 3 mill hours of operating experience,” said iReX Ships Programme Manager, Massimo Soprano.
“Manufactured in Germany, these engines are highly efficient and will support KiwiRail’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” he added.
Soprano revealed that MAN E&S already had a team based in New Zealand, to provide local service support for Interislander and scheduled maintenance for the two ferries.
“Local support is a big advantage to our operation in ensuring a resilient service across Te Moana o Raukawakawa Cook Strait and a reliable extension of both State Highway One and the main trunk railway,” he said.
It is more than 20 years since KiwiRail last introduced a new purpose-built Interislander ferry to its fleet.
The new ferries, which are being built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea, will be more efficient and support KiwiRail’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050.
Larger than the current vessels, they are being designed to cater for 30 years of freight and passenger growth.
Elvis Ettenhofer, MAN E&S’ Head of Marine 4-stroke Asia/Pacific said that the company had signed a contract with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard to supply the engines for the new ferries.
Each new vessel will be equipped with four MAN 32/44CR engines.
“The MAN 32/44CR’s robust design is proven in demanding applications and I’m very happy to see it chosen for a project of national significance to New Zealanders.
“These engines feature our common rail injection system, well known for its flexibility, low levels of noise and vibration, and reduced smoke during engine start and operation, which are all important features for passenger ferries,” Eltenhofer said.