Echandia builds battery systems for 23 Siemens electric ferries

Echandia builds battery systems for 23 Siemens electric ferries

Swedish energy systems supplier Echandia has signed an agreement with Siemens for 23 modern electric ferries for the South Indian city of Kochi’s public transport. The project comprises a total of 78 zero-emission vessels, which is the world’s largest fleet of electric ferries. The initial 23 ferries will connect the city and its 10 islands via 38 different terminals.

The 24m ferries will be fast-charged at regular intervals, providing uninterrupted service. Echandia’s E-LTO battery system was reportedly the only qualifying battery system.

In June 2020, Siemens won the tender to supply the electric propulsion systems to the Kochi water metro project.  Kochi’s water metro consists of 78 modern, zero-emission, hybrid-electric ferries running on 16 identified routes, connecting 10 islands via 38 different terminals.  During the first phase of the project, Cochin Shipyard Limited will deliver twenty-three 100-pax ferries. The 24m ferries will be fast charged, at regular intervals, providing uninterrupted service. 

“This has been and will continue to be very exciting to work with. The project is the first water transport system in India to integrate with the metro. It is widely expected to revolutionize water transportation. This will support the country’s efforts to reduce its emissions and carbon footprint, changing the lives of the 100,000 people living in the Kochi area. The project offers an inclusive approach to public transport and will also greatly benefit the tourism industry of the area,” commented Echandia’s CEO and founder, Magnus Eriksson.

“We decided early on to use LTO batteries because of their safety profile, their charging capacity and their expected lifespan in relation to their cost. Thus, Echandia was the only choice, because their LTO battery systems are the most advanced and they are the only company with DNV-GL certification,” said Sajan P John, general manager (marine), Kochi Metro Rail.

LTO battery chemistry was mandated at an early stage of the project, due to its safety, longevity, and high-charging capabilities. LTO is the safest maritime battery chemistry – resilient to external heat and other abuse, preventing thermal runaways.  It does not form dendrite like other lithium-ion chemistries, avoiding short circuits and increasing battery safety over time. 

E-LTO requires no active measures for water cooling or fire suppression. Propagation of thermal runaway between the Toshiba cells is almost impossible.  E-LTO-batteries are completely air-cooled, which is an easy, safe, and robust system. There have been several recent incidents with water-cooled batteries – a situation totally avoided using Echandia Marine’s E-LTO systems.