Volvo Penta last week announced a collaboration with Marell Boats and ecotourism company Hurtigruten Svalbard to produce a boat that combines a parallel hybrid-electric system with Volvo Penta diesels, a first for the Swedish engine manufacturer.
The effort culminated last week with the launch of a 48-foot aluminum expedition vessel named Kvitbjørn, which is powered with twin 320-hp D4 diesels that can disengage, then use high-capacity batteries and electric motors to turn the Aquamatic sterndrives.
“We are so excited to see this vessel go into operation,” Johan Inden, president of the Volvo Penta marine business, said in a statement. “We see electromobility as an enabler for many marine commercial operations that have short, dedicated journeys as our industry strives toward a zero CO2 emissions future.”
Kvitbjørn was designed for ecotourism explorations of the Arctic and, according to Volvo Penta, has a top speed of 30 knots, a cruise speed of 24 knots and a range of 500 nautical miles. Electric performance figures were unavailable.
The vessel’s maiden voyage set off last week from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, just 800 miles from the North Pole.