Fully electric E-ferry Ellen fulfills important goal: sails 5 daily return trips

The fully electric E-ferry Ellen has fulfilled an important goal: Ellen now sails 5 daily return trips, and she has proven to be both a very environmentally friendly ferry and a very reliable ferry.

The goal for the EU Horizon 2020 supported E-ferry project has been to sail at least 5 return trips during a single shift. Since the beginning of March, Ellen has indeed sailed 5 daily return trips between the two Danish islands Ærø and Als, and thus she has proven that her speed and quick charging capability enables her to replace traditional diesel ferries, even on busy routes with a fast turnaround.

Ellen sails seven times longer than any other electric ferry, and research by Siemens and Syddansk Vækstforum, has shown that more than 80% of all Nordic and European ferry routes can be covered by Ellen’s reach of 22 nautical miles between charges, approximately 40 kilometers. By achieving 5 return trips within a single shift, Ellen has shown that both in theory and practice, electric propulsion is an excellent and revolutionary solution to stopping greenhouse gas emissions from regional ferries and other types of short sea shipping.

The Mayor of the Municipality of Ærø, Ole Wej Petersen, comments that he is “proud that Ærø has helped show a completely new direction for ferry operations and short sea shipping in general. The Municipality of Ærø follows its own Vision Plan, which leads us towards complete CO2-neutrality, and Ellen is the logical consequence of that plan. I am highly satisfied that we decided to go with a 100% electric solution, and specifically that we decided upon the fast and well sailing Ellen.”

Ellen is not only environmentally friendly, she is also fast and economical in operation. Passengers save ten minutes on a single trip in comparison to the old diesel ferry she replaced. At the same time, Aeroe Ferries, who operates the Ellen, saves money on crew expenses, because electric propulsion technology is significantly simpler and less needing of maintenance than traditional diesel technology. Furthermore, recharging the batteries has proven to be significantly cheaper than filling a tank with fuel. Thus, a number of factors in practice show that this new revolutionary electric technology is available, capable and preferable, not only in theory, but in practice.

Passengers have given Ellen very good marks in our running evaluation, for her smooth, green and fast sailing, but a few passengers have requested more departures. With that in mind, the Traffic Director of the Municipality of Ærø, and CEO of Aeroe Ferries, says: “From the start we have aimed for 5 return-trips within a 14 hour span, since this means that we don’t have to change crews during the day, and we are very satisfied to fulfill another goal, to the benefit of our customers. Our crew is very happy with her, and the problems we had during the upstart have become less and less. Especially the optimizations we did on maneuvering have been well received. So yes, she is in good form.”

Ellen has sailed with complete stability since the last docking during fall 2019 when the final tweaks to the systems and the battery pack were carried out. Ellen has become a real success, and has received numerous accolades and positive reactions from media and maritime organizations. In the latest instance, on March 18 it was announced that Ellen is a finalist for the prestigious Danish Design Award 2020, in the category ‘Game Changer’. The jury writes that Ellen shows a new direction for the maritime world, and that she is an operating and proven design.

Facts about the E-ferry project:

The E-ferry project is an EU Horizon 2020 supported innovation project with the goal of designing, building and demonstrating a fully electric car and passenger ferry with a significantly extended range in comparison to other electric ferries. The Ellen has no diesel on board and has no emergency generator installed.

The revolutionary project is now in its final phase where the ferry is in normal operation, demonstrating that it is possible to sail between 5 and 7 return trips per day. Already now, the operator is fully capable of sailing 7 return trips, however, this will require a crew shift, which is not necessary to satisfy current transportation needs.

EU Horizon 2020: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en

Project websites:


Ærø EnergyLab, press- and information about E-ferry in Denmark: www.facebook.com/aeroe


Aeroe Ferry (Ærøfærgerne), booking and timetables:


Contact Information:

Keld M. Møller, CEO, Ærøfærgerne, kmm@aeroe-ferry.dk, tel: +45 6252 4000 Ole Wej Petersen, Mayor, Municipality of Ærø, owp@aeroekommune.dk, tel: +45 2334 2416 Halfdan Abrahamsen, Press and information, Ærø EnergyLab, hab@aeroekommune.dk, tel: +45 6352 5064

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