For Volvo, the choice of a hybrid vessel is the logical thing to do in order to mitigate the environmental impact as much as possible and provide the muscle to tackle the Arctic Ocean.

Volvo delivered an hybrid vessel to explore Svalbard archipelago

 North of mainland Europe, it is about midway between the northern coast of Norway and the North Pole (Wikipedia). Volvo Penta is running a pilot project with Svalbard’s oldest tourist operator, Hurtigruten Svalbard, to test a state-of-the-art hybrid Marell M15 vessel called Kvitbjørn (’Polar Bear’ in English) that will change how tourists experience this natural wonder, delivering near-silent operation and creating a more enjoyable experience for tourists and wildlife alike. 

D4-320 DPI Aquamatic

Powered by a Volvo Penta twin D4-320 DPI Aquamatic hybrid solution, the boat has a top speed of 32 knots and a cruising speed of 25 knots. This vessel, designed and built by Marell Boats Sweden AB, will be tailored to the customer’s needs and robust enough to operate safely in the demanding Arctic environment – running in sub-zero temperatures with an extensive range of 500 Nm. 

This will be Hurtigruten Svalbard’s first hybrid day tour vessel powered by Volvo Penta and the companies are also trialing a potentially ground-breaking new business model, based on a ‘power-by-the-hour’ payment program. This pioneering “e-mobility-as-a-service” model is still at the concept stage, but could see future development down the line. Hurtigruten Svalbard will trial paying by the kilowatt-hour for its operation, with the boat set to run for more than 1,000 hours during the tourist season (May 1st – October 31st).

A good partnership

All the interfaces between the hybrid drive and supporting systems were developed through close collaboration between Marell Boats and Volvo Penta. These include the charging, ventilation, heating, and air-conditioning systems. The complete power drivetrain solution for the vessel is based on the Volvo Penta D4/D6 Aquamatic DPI package. 

This plug-in hybrid electric approach takes us further down the path in Volvo Penta’s sustainability vision,” says Peter Granqvist, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Penta. “It advances our efforts towards electrifying this part of our Volvo Penta range and we can run this program inside a real-world customer project for better understanding and learning as we push the technology into the future.”

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