Schottel wins propulsion deal for BC’s electric-ready ferry

German propulsion manufacturer Schottel has secured a contract to deliver main propulsion units for a car ferry to Vancouver-based company Western Pacific Maritime Ltd. (WPM).


Ordered by the British Columbia Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, the newbuild will serve the Kootenay Lake in British Columbia.

Schottel ferry
Image Courtesy: Schottel

Specifically, the ferry will be equipped with four Schottel TwinPropeller units type STP 150 L, driven by PEM motors. Featuring a propeller diameter of 1.1 metres, the STPs enable a speed of up to 13.5 knots. What is more, a fifth identical unit has been ordered as a spare unit, according to Schottel.

Designed by Polar Design Sales, the new vessel will be configured as a diesel-electric hybrid with all the systems, equipment and components ready for a fully electric propulsion in future.

The 89-metre-long and 25-metre-wide vessel will be able to accommodate up to 61 vehicles and is expected to reduce sailing waits enormously.

As informed, the ferry will be fully converted to electric propulsion by 2030, once shore power is installed and ready for use on a daily basis. As part of CleanBC, the province is working to electrify the inland ferry fleet by 2040.

Back in September 2020, the Canadian government awarded the $62.9-million contract for the new electric-ready ferry to WPM. The Kootenay Lake Ferry Service Improvements project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the New Building Canada Fund’s Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component-National and Regional Projects.

The new ferry will be ready for service in early 2023 with more than double the capacity of the MV Balfour, which it will replace. The MV Balfour will be retired from service.

In January this year, Finnish technology Wartsila was also contracted to provide its hybrid solution for the new ferry.