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Black Cat Cruises will receive funding from EECA to build a new 70-seat electric ferry to replace the existing diesel-powered passenger ferry that runs between Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour

Marine electrification fund recipients announced

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has announced that low-emission marine transport projects will receive a boost to the tune of $800,000.


Four successful recipients of the special investment-focused technology demonstration fund have been announced, with the fifth project currently in the process of being confirmed.

“We have approved funding for projects that will demonstrate the viability of electric marine passenger vessels in New Zealand,” EECA board chair Elena Trout says. “Finding ways to move away from fossil fuels for transport is essential if New Zealand and the world is to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.”

The marine electrification funding round was established due to increasing interest in the technology and demand by industry, Ms Trout notes. “EECA’s existing Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund is restricted to road transport and associated infrastructure and therefore did not cover marine technology. We recognised that there is potential for a number of existing marine passenger vessels and also personal watercraft to convert to electric propulsion.”

Ngai Tahu Tourism will receive funding to convert one of its petrol-powered jet boats to 100% electric propulsion for on-river trial and testing

Total EECA funding available for each successful project was limited to $200,000, and up to a maximum of 40% of the incremental cost of the marine electrification project. 

EECA funding contributes to the cost of demonstrating proven technology or an innovative process improvement opportunity that has yet to be widely adopted in New Zealand. Successful applicants had to prove the potential of the project to improve energy efficiency and/or reduce carbon emissions.

Fund recipients

The successful recipients of the fund are Explore Group, Black Cat Cruises, Ngai Tahu Tourism (Shotover Jet) and Petroleum Logistics (GoFuel). Co-funding has been approved for the following projects.

Viaduct Harbour water taxis and tours
The Explore Group plans to convert two existing ferries to 100% battery electric propulsion for harbour tours and taxi service. The conversions will use tried and tested components used extensively overseas. Explore Group is a very experienced marine tourism and transport business, and having had a long association with the America’s Cup is gearing up for the upcoming America’s Cup regatta. It will receive $158,070 co-funding (17% of total projects costs).

Diamond Harbour electric passenger ferry
Black Cat Cruises will receive $200,000 co-funding (6% of total project costs) to build a new 70-seat electric ferry for contracted public passenger ferry service between Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour. The state-of-the-art electric ferry will replace an existing smaller diesel-fuelled boat. The company operates over 8400 return crossings per year.

Ngai Tahu Tourism jet boats
Ngai Tahu Tourism will receive $200,000 co-funding (36% of total project costs) to convert a V8 petrol-powered jet boat to 100% electric twin-motor propulsion for on-river trial and testing. Once the trials are successfully completed it will then look to introduce the electric jet boat technology into its world-recognised Shotover Jet tourism operation. In the future, the company plans to take this demonstration further with conversions through its fleet of jet boats in Queenstown, Glenorchy, Hollyford Valley and Taupo.

Petroleum Logistics (GOFuel) 
Petroleum Logistics will receive $76,065 co-funding (40% of total project costs) to retrofit its current marina work boat used for towing and water taxi service with a commercially available electric outboard motor and a fast-charge-capable battery pack. It will also install New Zealand’s first public marine fast charger at Westhaven Marina to provide charging services to future electric boat operators.

For more information about the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, click here 

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