A PARTNERSHIP between ferry company Fullers360 and sustainable marine technology provider Vessev has developed what’s claimed to be the first fully electric passenger vessel to operate in Auckland and the first hydrofoiling tourism vessel to operate in the world.

NetZero Maritime, Fullers360’s specialist maritime green technology and innovation team, has played a pivotal role in the realisation of VS-9, which was lifted into the water earlier this month to begin sea trials after a 12-month build phase.

Once testing is complete, VS-9 will be fitted with a cabin top and high-end interiors before being deployed by Fullers360 to offer tourist services across the Hauraki Gulf.

CEO Mike Horne said it was the intention of Fullers360 – NZ’s largest ferry operator – to be 100% electric or hydrogen operated by 2040 and foiling is a part of that vision.

“The establishment of NetZero Maritime has allowed us to dedicate a team to enabling zero emissions projects, with the VS-9 being the first fully electric passenger vessel to operate in Auckland,” Mr Horne said.

The nine-metre VS-9 will transport up to 10 passengers at a service speed of 25 knots with a range of 50 nautical miles, thanks to state-of-the-art efficient hydrofoiling technology.

Vessev CEO Eric Laakmann said the maritime industry was on the cusp of a once-in-a-generation shift toward adopting zero emissions solutions.

“We are in the earliest stage of a global transition to sustainable energy use. Our partnership with NetZero Maritime is one of the most powerful in the world in accelerating the adoption of new technologies. The development and commercialisation of VS-9 unlocks entirely new possibilities on the water enabling a shift toward more efficient, more reliable and more comfortable marine transport.

VS-9 will unlock thousands of new routes around the world that are currently impractical for traditional vessels,” Mr Laakmann said.

VS-9’s modular foiling system has been designed, built and tested by Vessev by their team of engineers using some of the same techniques as winning America’s Cup teams.