Kingsley II - HEVIMA
Hybrid Electrical Vessel propulsion with Integrated Motor Assist
A cutting edge green hybrid-engined ferry working on the Fal River.
In 2017 we embarked on one of the most ambitious projects our business has ever undertaken: To convert a 1930’s passenger ferry into the UK’s first Hybrid Electric passenger boat.
The Kingsley II is a classic wooden ferry built in 1934 by legendary boat builder Percy Mitchell at Portmellon near Mevagissey in Cornwall, as you can imagine, converting a ferry of this age hasn’t been easy! Now completed, the ferry is the only one of its type in the UK.
Instead of being a conventional electric ferry that requires recharging frequently throughout the day, the Kingsley II can operate all day long with it’s cutting edge hybrid electric system.
The ferry is unique because of the modern efficient diesel engine. Not only does the engine rapidly charge the batteries when they’re running low, but it can also directly provide propulsion for the boat at the same time meaning you can charge whilst on the move. This means the ferry can keep operating at all times and has less diesel running time than other options on the market.
In 2017, Fal River Cornwall (Cornwall Ferries Ltd) put their classic wooden boat “Kingsley II” at the disposal of a team of engineers from REAP Systems as the “test bed” for the new electric and diesel hybrid engine. This is the first hybrid diesel electric engine to be retro-installed on a passenger ferry of this scale in the UK and the scope for transforming emissions on all rivers, waterways and coastal traffic is huge.
Among the other participants in this “HEVIMA” (Hybrid Electrical Vessel propulsion with Integrated Motor Assist) project are Babcock International, Lloyds Register, Marine South East, Southampton University, Mainstay Marine and Innovate UK.
Skipper of the Kingsley II Orlando Smithies said;
“It’s been great to work alongside engineers to improve the passenger experience on our new service between St Mawes and Trelissick. We have found that passengers are really enjoying the quieter engine operation and many are interested to hear more about the steps we are taking to reduce the environmental impact of our public transport offering.
“We operate in one of Cornwall’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it’s important that we protect and enhance it’s special status by leading innovation for clean, safe transport systems connecting communities on the river and estuary."
Gary Mitchell, the son of Percy Mitchell; the notable Cornish boatbuilder who built the Kingsley II in 1934, said his father would have approved of any innovations on his vessels;
“My father was an innovator in design and was always looking for the opportunity to meet new demands in boat building.”
The Kingsley II will be operating the Trelissick Ferry service St Mawes and Trelissick each summer season.
The Kingsley II is also available for school science education trips, birthdays, special events, - product launches (green ones welcome) and charter cruises. Get in touch for more details.
With over half a tonne of batteries onboard, the ferry is perfect for exploring the secluded and wildlife rich upper reaches of the Fal River as the noise output is considerably less than a conventional diesel powered ferry.
The recent declaration of a ‘Climate Emergency’ by Cornwall Council and commitments by government to reduce the UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target and we believe the Kinglsey II and the data it is providing us is invaluable in research and development to ensure the passenger ferry sector falls into line with this target.
Currently the only electric ferry in Cornwall, the Kingsley II is looking for support to keep her in operation in our mission to reduce carbon emissions in the passenger boat industry.