B.C.'s first hybrid electric ferries to arrive next month

B.C.'s first hybrid electrical ferries have officially entered the waters of the Pacific Ocean and will be arriving to Victoria this January. 

The two ships are part of BC Ferries' long-term plan to have an entire fleet that's powered by electricity. Both vessels are expected to be in operation by mid-2020 following a final inspection and crew training.

"One will replace North Island Princess on the Powell River–Texada route, the other will replace the Quadra Queen II on the Port McNeill – Alert Bay – Sointula route," said Tessa Humphries with BC Ferries. 

The North Island Princess, built in 1958, is the oldest ferry in the fleet.

Both new ships have a capacity of 47 vehicles and anywhere between 150 to 300 passengers and crew. The two vessels will be the first of six to arrive to B.C., with the remaining four expected to be in service by 2022. 

All six vessels have the capacity to be fully electrical, but until the right infrastructure is in place, BC Ferries says the ships will operate as hybrids. 

"They are going to operate on the ultra-low sulphur marine diesel at the moment but they were designed for full electric operation," Humphries said.