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Revolutionising transport for a more liveable world

Sustainable marine technology provider Vessev has revealed the VS-9, an electric, foiling passenger ship.

Sustainable marine technology provider Vessev has revealed the VS-9, an electric, foiling passenger ship.

By partnering with Fullers360, New Zealand’s largest ferry operator, the VS-9 will become the first fully electric passenger vessel in Auckland and the first hydrofoiling tourism vessel to operate worldwide.
NetZero Maritime, Fullers360’s specialist maritime green technology and innovation team, has played a pivotal role in adopting this new type of vessel.
The first VS-9 was lifted into the water earlier this month after a 12-month build phase to begin sea trials. Once testing is complete the VS-9 will be fitted with a cabin top and high-end interiors before being commercialised by Fullers360 to deliver tourism experiences across the Hauraki Gulf.
Fullers360 CEO Mike Horne says the business is thrilled to partner with Vessev as part of its transition to zero-emission solutions.
“It’s our intention for Fullers360 to be 100% electric or hydrogen operated by 2040 and foiling is a part of that vision for us. The establishment of NetZero Maritime has enabled 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”, says Mr Horne.
The nine-meter VS-9 transports up to 10 passengers at a service speed of 25 knots with a range of 50 nautical miles (57 miles/92.6km) due to its hydrofoiling technology.
Vessev CEO Eric Laakmann says the maritime industry is on the cusp of shifting 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. There are 33 million vessels in the world today with sustainable vessels representing the smallest amount. Through significant enhancements in efficiency, hydrofoiling will play a key role in this once-in-a-generation shift”, says Mr Laakmann.
He also explains that “The development and commercialisation of the VS-9 unlocks entirely new possibilities on the water enabling a shift toward more efficient, more reliable, and more comfortable marine transport. The VS-9 will unlock thousands of new routes around the world that are currently impractical for traditional vessels”.
Vessev’s expert team of marine engineers and builders have designed and built a vessel that aligns seamlessly with commercial transport and tourism requirements through their partnership with NetZero Maritime.
Mr Horne says the business is incredibly pleased to see the VS-9 begin its first phase of on-water testing.
“Auckland is quickly becoming a case study for green technology and the IP within NetZero Maritime is playing a fundamental role in accelerating the understanding and adoption of it globally. This project reinforces our move to establish NetZero Maritime and enable the commercialization of new technology such as the VS-9.
“The VS-9 combines the first fully electric passenger vessel to operate in Auckland with the latest hydrofoiling technology to deliver premium tourism experiences. Our understanding is there are currently no electric hydrofoiling vessels certified for commercial tourism use in the world and the testing done here in New Zealand will set a new standard for bringing this new class of vessel into service globally”, says Mr Horne.
Enhanced customer experience
“Customers will glide across the Hauraki Gulf enjoying smooth travel that feels more like flying than sailing thanks to the foils that slice through waves that are usually uncomfortable for a vessel of this size to operate in. This means that the rolling sensation you feel on traditional boats completely disappears when the VS-9 enters foiling mode, creating an onboard experience unmatched by conventional vessels,” explained Mr Horne.
Incredibly efficient foiling technology
The VS-9’s modular foiling system has been designed, built, and tested by Vessev’s team of engineers using some of the same techniques as winning America’s Cup teams, which increases the resilience of the VS-9’s foiling systems.
“To our knowledge, the VS-9 will be the only certified passenger electric hydrofoiling vessel to utilise this technology. The system is more difficult to engineer up-front, but results in a very performant vessel that is both more capable and more efficient”, says Mr Laakmann.
Vessev’s technology reduces energy consumption by up to 95%, facilitating a range of up to 50 nautical miles at a service speed of 25 knots – equal to roughly four trips to Waiheke Island from downtown Auckland.
The VS-9 can be charged using existing electric charging infrastructure commonly available. Once high-speed DC charging is in place, recharge times will be much quicker at 0.8 nautical miles of range per minute of charging.
“Hydrofoiling significantly increases the efficiency of vessels. Performance-wise, this means more range and much faster charging and is economical for operators with a petrol-fueling chase boat being 25 times the cost of the electricity used to charge the VS—9. It also boasts significantly reduced maintenance costs.”, explains Mr Laakmann.
Stability and durability
The VS-9’s foils enable it to ride completely above the waves, providing an infinitely smoother ride than conventional vessels and enhancing its operational capability. The VS-9 takes off at 18-19 knots, transitioning from foil assist to full foiling mode, and cruises with optimum efficiency between 22-25 knots. The foil stabilisation systems enter operation at 12 knots – actively reducing pitch and roll motion, even when not fully on foils and ‘flying’.
Built using carbon fibre laminates, the VS-9 is incredibly resilient and built to last. The VS-9’s foils are fully retractable that will enable the vessel to operate in shallow water and protect the foils when transported on a trailer.
“To our knowledge, the VS-9 will be the only certified passenger electric hydrofoil in the world with the ability to remove the foils from the water”, says Mr Laakmann.
Looking ahead
Utilising the design of the VS-9, Vessev is already working through further enhancements to the vessel performance and applying this to larger foiling vessels with a capacity for more passengers suitable for a range of routes.
The VS-9 entered the water for the first time earlier this month at Auckland’s Westhaven Marina, undergoing robust sea trials and risk mitigation testing before it can gain certification by Maritime New Zealand.

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