A very interesting electric ferry was recently commissioned for service in Bangkok, Thailand. It’s called MINE Smart Ferry, where MINE is for “Mission No Emission”.
According to Energy Absolute, which built the ferry, the ship is equipped with an 800 kWh lithium-ion battery and can take 235 passengers (104 seats plus 131 standing). The operating speed is 11.0 knots (12.7 mph; 20.4 km/h), while the maximum is 15.0 knots (17.3 mph; 278 km/h).
On the roof, you can see some solar panels to generate an additional, relatively minor amount of juice, but our attention was caught mainly because of the charging.
There are so many charging inlets and plugs that in the first moment, we thought that someone was trolling us. One plug, two plugs, three plugs… 4, 5, 6, 7… and what? Another 7!
…and another 7, and another 7 (actually 5 with two slots empty). A total of 26 CCS2 DC fast charging inlets and plugs to conduct fast charging in 15-20 minutes.
This is hilarious! Unheard of! The ferry basically takes all the plugs at any charging station, it visits, so maybe we should add a new term of being FERRIed.
Having so many plugs to connect and disconnect might require a full-time employee, we guess. Especially if there would be a fleet of such ferries running around.
Being more serious, we are really not sure why the company opted for such a solution. A basic match with an 800 kWh battery and 15-20 minute charging means that the required charging power is 2.4-3.2 MW (probably less assuming no full discharge).
This is a lot of power but not for 26 DC plugs! A single automotive CCS plug takes 500 kW and you can buy them right away from various suppliers (including HUBER+SUHNER, Phoenix Contact and ITT Cannon). In other words, the number of plugs is significantly too high.
There are probably also specialized higher power connectors for high power, but at least in Europe, ships are getting high power charging using an automated connection system. Here are examples from Norway and Sweden/Denmark:
Currently, the automotive industry is working on megawatt-level charging systems. Multiple prototypes were recently tested by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Daimler is building its first 1+ MW charging station for trucks on Swan Island in Portland.
Hopefully, soon there will be a common solution for 1+ MW charging because as we can see, there is a need for it.