A vessel from the Mount Batten Ferry service fleet has had her engine replaced with a new electronic drive propulsion system and solar charging capability. This is an excellent environmental addition to the Cattewater, and a further boost to reducing emissions from water transport in the Port.

Copper, the smaller of the Mount Batten Ferry business’ fleet, has undergone her transformation to electric power over the last few months as the service has been closed to passengers due to the ongoing pandemic. The Mount Batten Ferry usually runs daily, all year round between The Barbican and Mount Batten.

The electric drive install was designed and fitted in-house by Universal Marine Services Ltd., which owns and operates the Mount Batten Ferry service, with the help of a local engineering company, Flint Engineering. Universal Marine Services can now carry out a range of electric drive installs.

Copper’s sister ferry, Sulphar, has also had her diesel engines replaced with two fuel efficient smaller Beta engine units.

MV Copper has been re-fitted with an electric drive install

CEO and Harbour Master for Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, Captain Richard Allan says:

“A year ago we launched the Port of Plymouth Air Quality strategy and invited our stakeholders to input into the strategy and consider and implement any new ideas that they may be able to adopt to improve air quality. 

With the installation of the Plymouth City Council charging points on the Barbican Landing Stage, and Copper’s new electric engine and solar charging capability, this is another hugely positive step forward as part of the Port’s commitment to improving air quality. We congratulate Captain Stevens and his team for making this conversion to electric and look forward to welcoming Copper back into service in the coming months.”

Captain Dan Stevens, owner of Universal Marine Services Ltd.: 

“Copper was chosen for an electric drive retrofit as it is one of Plymouth’s busiest ferries and operates daily between The Barbican and Mount Batten. She made an ideal vessel to trial a new electric drive and will hopefully make a great addition, and leap forward, to Zero Carbon Emission transport for Plymouth’s waters.”

Copper is the second passenger ferry to be converted to electric recently, last year Plymouth Boat Trips launched e-Voyager and after undergoing rigorous sea-trials she will come into service in April.

Plymouth Boat Trip's e-Voyager
Plymouth Boat Trip’s e-Voyager

Captain Allan adds: “It really is excellent to have both ferry operators in the Cattewater investing significantly in electric craft.”

For further information about the Port’s Air Quality Strategy please click here.