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Helsinki trials electric ferry across the Reposalmi strait

The ferry will operate as a calling service using a mobile app and transport six passengers at a time from Vartiosaari to Laajasalo, covering a distance of 150 metres.

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Batteries for the electric ferry will be mainly charged at night. Image: Mente Marine
Batteries for the electric ferry will be mainly charged at night. Image: Mente Marine

Helsinki is trialling an electric ferry service across its archipelago from Vartiosaari to Laajasalo.

 

The ferry crosses the Reposalmi strait every week from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 7pm until 23 August and is able to carry six passengers at a time. It operates as a calling service via mobile app.

 

Participatory budgeting

 

The project was initiated by Helsinki’s participatory budgeting service OmaStadi, which allows citizens to come up with ideas and vote for them. The proposal for an electric ferry received 1,626 votes, enabling it to proceed to the implementation phase.

 

The City of Helsinki innovation company Forum Virium was looking for a place to test the new Callboats ferry and identified a need in Vartiosaari.

 

The ferry, a covered catamaran, and application was developed by Mente Marine. Batteries are mainly charged at night time on the pier. It also has solar panels on the roof to collect energy.

 

The distance from Vartiosaari to Laajasalo across the Reposalmi strait is approximately 150 metres. The ferry operates most of the day when the batteries are fully charged but short charging breaks may be required at times of heavy traffic. It has a captain but similar ferries could be autonomous in the future.

“This kind of innovative outcome of a joint development between the city’s residents, experts and business sector is in itself a rather historical achievement”

“This is really an interesting new experiment that will increase the recreational opportunities of city dwellers and visitors alike in the heart of Helsinki,” said Minttu Perttula, project manager for Helsinki Maritime Strategy, which is focused on improving public access to the city’s maritime sites and developing public services in the archipelago.

 

She added: “Many thanks to Helsinki’s participatory budgeting and those who originally came up with the idea in the OmaStadi service and made it possible for the idea to be implemented in practice. This kind of innovative outcome of a joint development between the city’s residents, experts and business sector is in itself a rather historical achievement.”

 

“It’s great to bring a Finnish vehicle of the future and a smart mobility service to be tested on the summer waves," said Raimo Tengvall, project manager of Forum Virium Helsinki’s Mobility Launchpad, which helps to develop smart mobility projects. "This summer we will learn to move in the archipelago in a new way.”

 

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