The 50-seater battery-powered electric ferries, each costing over ₹7.30 crore, can accommodate up to 100 passengers at a time.
The first of the 23 Water Metro’s ferries slated to operate through the water bodies in the Greater Kochi area will be delivered by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) to the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) on Friday, after repeated overshooting of deadlines and over 10 months after the inauguration of Water Metro’s Vyttila-Kakkanad route.
The 50-seater battery-powered electric ferries, each costing over ₹7.30 crore, can accommodate a total of up to 100 passengers at a time. Five boats that are under construction will be handed over to the KMRL in a couple of months, says a release issued by the metro agency.
The Water Metro ferries that would come with state-of-the-art technology, would have many firsts. It is first time in the world a centrally-controlled integrated water transport system with a large fleet would be battery-powered. The ferries use lithium titanate oxide batteries — which are considered the latest and safest in battery technology, and are capable of fast charging. They can be charged in 10 to 15 minutes’ time, while passengers are alighting/boarding. The super chargers will be installed in floating-pontoon jetties at select locations. The ferries come with generator backup, which will take over their operation automatically, in the event of any failure of the battery system.
The aluminium hull of the catamaran ferries have high degree of safety and stability. Together with the use of floating jetties, it makes the ferries disabled and elderly friendly as well. The hull is designed for 10-knots speed (18 kmph), which are considerably faster than conventional ferries in operation in Kerala. This makes the ferries consume very less energy.
The fully air-conditioned ferries having wide windows offer a comfortable travel, while also providing a splendid view of the back waters and the banks, for passengers and tourists. The interiors are designed much like in Kochi Metro. The ferries are built in such a way as to create very less waves over the narrow channels even at high speed and would provide commuters a silent mode of transport. An automatic boat location system will continuously monitor their position from the Operating Control Centre at Vytilla Mobility Hub. The CCTV system would monitor them remotely, for enhanced safety and security.
The Kochi Water Metro would thus be a climate-friendly integrated water transport initiative to improve waterway connectivity, with a total of 78 ferries that would link 38 terminals located over 76 route kilometre The construction of ferry jetties too is progressing. The Vyttila and Kakkanad terminals are almost ready and dredging has been completed, while installation of floating pontoon is in the final stage. The Vypin, High Court, Eloor, Cheranalloor and Chittoor jetties will be ready by April 2022.
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