Niagra Falls Tour Boat Operator Orders Battery-Powered Vessels

maid of the mist electric vessels
Illustration credit ABB

Niagra Falls tour boat operator Maid of the Mist has placed an order for the first all-electric, zero-emission vessels to be built in the United States.

The two new passenger vessels will be powered entirely by high-capacity, lithium-ion battery packs supplied by Swiss technology and power company ABB. 

The two new vessels are already under construction at the Burger Boat Company shipyard in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Both are set to start operations later this year, replacing Maid of the Mist’s current two-vessel fleet. 

Maid of the Mist operates tour boats at the base of Niagra Fall from April through the first week of November with an estimated 1.6 million passengers annually.

ABB says the two vessels will be powered by a pair of battery packs with a total capacity of 316 kWh, split evenly between two catamaran hulls, increasing redundancy that will help with the resiliency of operations.

Charging will take place between every trip while passengers disembark and board. Shoreside charging will only take seven minutes, allowing the batteries to power the electric propulsion motors capable of a total 400 kW (563 HP) output. The power setup will be controlled by ABB’s integrated Power and Energy Management System (PEMS), which will optimize energy use on board.

The shoreside power supply will be supplied by hydropower for 100% emission-free operations. Electric power will also virtually eliminate engine noise, vibration or exhaust fumes from a conventional diesel engine.

In addition to the integrated battery system, ABB will also supply the two vessels with switchboards, drives and the integrated control system, as well as the ABB Ability™ Marine Remote Diagnostic System for remote equipment monitoring and predictive maintenance.