november 29, 2021 - Volvo Penta

The silent future of tourism: Volvo Penta to power Hurtigruten Svalbard’s new hybrid vessel

Volvo Penta announces an advanced, hybrid solution for Hurtigruten Svalbard's new sightseeing vessel, which will begin a pilot test in Svalbard in May 2022. The near-silent vessel has the potential to transform the sustainable tourism industry, allowing guests to experience the wonders of Svalbard without disturbing the nature and habitat around them.

Every year tourists flock to a remote archipelago in Norway to see its unique wildlife – walrus, puffins, seals and a variety of whales. Now, 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.

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). While still only a test, the concept is expected to attract significant industry attention and could revolutionize how customers buy marine e-mobility solutions, particularly as upfront costs are often a barrier.

Towards silent sustainable tourism

Hurtigruten Group, the world's leading adventure travel company, allows guests to explore unique destinations in a sustainable and meaningful way. It also runs the Hurtigruten Foundation, centered around conservation, to ensure its guests of tomorrow can enjoy the same meaningful travel experiences as those today. In the spirit of this, the new hybrid day-cruiser with Volvo Penta power system allows for fully electric operation in the environmentally sensitive waters of Svalbard.

Further information in the press release to download

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