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Police rescue passengers from powerless electric ferry!

September 30, 2022

By Paul Homewood

h/t Joe Public

From the NZ Herald:


The police boat and the ferry. Photo / Supplied

Passengers on Wellington’s new electric ferry were rescued by a police boat after the ferry lost power.

A police spokesperson confirmed to the Herald the Ika Rere had run out of battery in the harbour and all passengers on board were transferred to the police boat.

They were then escorted back to Queen’s Wharf, and the police boat went back out to help tug the ferry back to port.

Harbourmaster Grant Nalder said the boat was on its way back to Queen’s Wharf from Days Bay when the power issue began.

"The skipper got it to a safe spot and put the anchor down."

Luckily the police were already in the harbour so the operation was a swift one.

"Everyone was safe on board, just a bit of a delay getting into town," Nalder said.

The ferry was launched in March of this year after lengthy Covid-19 delays. It was originally supposed to launch in the middle of 2020, then in September 2021, however the pandemic delayed the project and subsequent sea trials.,on%20board%20were%20transferred%20to%20the%20police%20boat.

Maybe they had better take some oars with them in future!

  1. markl permalink
    September 30, 2022 4:36 pm

    Brings new meaning to the phrase “range anxiety”.

  2. ancientpopeye permalink
    September 30, 2022 4:41 pm

    That’s Net-Zero for you?

  3. Beagle permalink
    September 30, 2022 4:42 pm

    It’s electric planes that worry me. Will they have a glide mode?

    • Penda100 permalink
      September 30, 2022 5:35 pm

      With the weight of the batteries won’t it have the glide angle of a brick?

  4. Gerry, England permalink
    September 30, 2022 4:46 pm

    Early days. An updated version with a row of holes along each side and a big bloke with a drum has been produced.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    September 30, 2022 5:06 pm

    This will twist your nuts.
    Of all the numerous places the MO lists on its month to date page, the only place currently running a (barely) negative mean temperature anomaly is…….. Heathrow!

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 30, 2022 7:22 pm

      Pilot strike??

  6. September 30, 2022 5:18 pm

    Let’s look on the bright side that if the ferry had burst into flame they had a ready source of water handy.

    On the other hand, if it had been a plane…As Beagle asks, would they have a glide mode or would they also carry an engine? Or would they have any passengers? I certainly wouldn’t want to fly in one.

    • Sean permalink
      September 30, 2022 6:59 pm

      All aircraft have a glide ratio; the only real issue is how big a circle around the plane does the glide ratio give for picking a place to set down if the engines give out. If the stall speed is high, the glide ratio will be smaller, forcing the plane to pick someplace closer to set down at.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        September 30, 2022 7:25 pm

        My favourite glider story – you just have to read it – The Gimli Glider: a passenger jet that ran out of fuel:

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        September 30, 2022 7:44 pm

        I watched a programme about the longest glide ever by a passenger jet.
        TS236 glided powerlessly and with no fuel for almost 20 minutes, flying some 75 miles, setting the world record for the longest glider flight. The Airbus 330 Piché landed that day is still in service and is now known as the “Azores Glider.”
        Not only did it glide 75 miles, when it got to the airport it was too high and had to lose height. It’s an amazing story better than fiction.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        September 30, 2022 8:08 pm

        Turned out the pilot was also an accomplished glider pilot.
        For those who read the story, they will be amazed by the reason the aircraft ran out of fuel…

    • Dazed and conservative . permalink
      September 30, 2022 9:38 pm

      At the risk of sounding like the po – faced old git I am , I seem to remember one or more of the excellent and knowledgeable contributors to this blog pointing out that lithium battery ( am I right to assume that in this case ? ) fires are actually made worse by attempting to extinguish them with water . Furthermore , I believe lithium battery fires emit large amounts of hydrogen fluoride gas , which in contact with water (i.e. human bodies ) becomes hydrofluoric acid , pretty well the most corrosive acid there is . The prospect of dozens of passengers trapped in a shipboard cloud of hydrogen fluoride is truly appalling .Lefty / environazis would no doubt claim that as a case of ” not being able to make an omelette without breaking a few eggs ” . ( Although it is notable that depite the millions of eggs broken so far in the history of the glorious marxist revolution , there’s still no sign of that elusive omelette )

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        September 30, 2022 9:59 pm

        Down in Kent between Faversham and Whitstable there has been planning permission granted for a large solar farm with a very large battery system. A local doctor produced a report based on his early career treatment of soldiers suffering gas attacks. He estimated that in the event of a fire breaking out at the battery park up to 20,000 could die from the gas cloud of hydrogen flouride. It still got passed.
        It really makes a mockery of health and safety legislation, if it had been a proposal for a small nuclear plant or a fracking site (both perfectly safe) there would have been merry hell raised. But a seriously dangerous battery farm is apparently okay!

      • Mad Mike permalink
        October 1, 2022 1:44 pm

        Ray, I supplied the Faversham Society with some stuff on the matter and they presented it at the planning enquiry, to no avail as the enquiry officials were quite happy with the mitigation measures, I think there were 7 in total, that were supposed to be in place for any fire risk. I also contacted the local fire officer who was clueless about lithium fire risks. Pointing out that some of the mitigation measures required diligent monitoring and maintenance by trained engineers over a 20 year period did not raise any concerns.

        It seemed that the planning criteria for this project was less than normal applications of this scale and more biased towards it.

        We’ll see.

    • Phil O'Sophical permalink
      October 1, 2022 10:55 am

      climate reason: if the ferry had burst into flame they had a ready source of water handy.

      But presumably that would be the lithium batteries and lithium and water are a spectacular combination.

  7. Broadlands permalink
    September 30, 2022 5:20 pm

    One has to wonder how many EVs have been left without a tankful of lithium in Florida after Ian passed through.

  8. Ralph Hayburn permalink
    September 30, 2022 5:58 pm

    Good job they weren’t trying to get into WELLINGTON Harbour on a stormy night.

    • SimonfromAshby permalink
      September 30, 2022 6:38 pm

      Days Bay to Queens wharf just crosses the harbour.

  9. It doesn't add up... permalink
    September 30, 2022 6:06 pm

    Would the floodwaters be worth drying out in salt pans for lithium hydroxide?

    On a similar note I see that the Nordstream methane appears to have been getting up Greta’s nose quite literally. Hasn’t stopped a load of alarmist nonsense about its effect on climate. Such gems as the second most important GHG – completely forgetting water vapour of course, and apparently in total ignorance of Happer and Wijngaarden’s work that shows methane only has a very limited effect due to the near saturation of its absorption bands by water vapour. Also a load of nonsense about the degree of leakage from oil and gas operations.

  10. John Hultquist permalink
    September 30, 2022 6:15 pm

    Likely just a loose wire.
    Surely the battery was fully charged when the ferry left the dock!
    I hope there is an update with an explanation.
    How long will it be out of service?
    Is there a diesel one ready to take over?
    It seems every EV needs a carbon-based fuel backup of some sort.

    Moral: EVs are not ready for prime time.

    • Realist permalink
      September 30, 2022 7:38 pm

      EVs will never be ready until at the very least the range problem and the charging time problem are fixed, particularly the range problem. Also the little matter that many people don’t like automatics and prefer a proper car with three pedals instead of two.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 1, 2022 12:51 pm

      What is the first thing you have when you get a battery powered device? Yep, spare batteries. I have a few battery ‘cordless’ drills and an impact driver and a number of batteries so there is always one to hand if a freshly charged one is required. They are the only battery tools I would consider since they are the most used for drilling, screwdriving, working on nuts and bolts, even sanding. It has taken a while but there are now suites of tools that use the same battery but I see no need to spend money on new grinders/planers/sanders/saws etc.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        October 1, 2022 2:05 pm

        I’ve got three Sanders, aged 30, 28 and 24 and they don’t need batteries – ho,ho, ho! (okay it’s not that funny)

  11. Ray Burnett permalink
    September 30, 2022 8:27 pm

    The NZ Herald article states the electric ferries coming soon to Auckland will have back-up diesel engines. I hope, for the sake of transparency, they keep and publish a record of the number of times the back-ups have to be deployed. But don’t hold your breath.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 30, 2022 8:32 pm

      So , they’ll actually be diesel-electric – so hardly cutting-edge.

    • October 1, 2022 8:26 am


      like our grid, the expense of two power systems where one will do.

  12. Curious George permalink
    September 30, 2022 9:16 pm

    Did the ferry schedule allow for 3 hours of charging time at each wharf?

  13. Ray Sanders permalink
    September 30, 2022 9:44 pm

    There was actually a recent proposal for battery electric cross channel ferries out of Dover…no I am not joking. The idea was to have roll on, roll off battery packs on artic trailers which would be swapped over at then end of each crossing. I regularly go to France…by the Channel Tunnel.

  14. September 30, 2022 10:23 pm

    ‘run out of battery in the harbour’

    Comical. Was that at the end of a trip or the start?

  15. Ray Sanders permalink
    September 30, 2022 10:26 pm

    Sorry completely off topic but, as Hydrogen is all the current rage, if you want to read some real “shit for brains” in academia try this letter to the Guardian.
    Prof Gordon E Andrews really seems to believe ” the cost of green hydrogen as 3p/kilowatt hour using solar electricity in 2030″
    Is this really what passes for science staff at the University of Leeds?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 1, 2022 12:52 pm

      Just shows how low the bar is set to be a ‘professor’ these days.

    • dennisambler permalink
      October 1, 2022 3:52 pm

      Leeds is a Climate Mecca:
      “The Priestley International Centre for Climate brings together world-leading expertise in all the key strands of climate change research. Climate change and its impact on society and ecosystems is a global challenge. The Centre is providing international solutions to meet this challenge.”
      Founded by IPCC author and CCC member Piers Forster,

      Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science
      “We are making fundamental advances in our understanding of climate change, weather, atmospheric composition, palaeo-climates, and impacts on our planet and society. We develop advanced computer models, lead major field campaigns, analyse satellite data, and perform innovative laboratory experiments.”

      Sustainability Research Institute
      “We explore a wide range of issues including climate change, energy, transport, water, resource use, land use, conservation, cities and communities, business and lifestyles. We specialise in participatory, action-oriented research that brings together government, business, NGOs and local communities to enhance the relevance, quality and practical influence of our research.”

      Global Food and Environment Institute
      GFEI is an interdisciplinary research community, which brings together members from across academia, industry and public policy. “We envisage a radically different global food system which works with nature and provides everybody with access to safe and nutritious food. Our aim is to develop enduring solutions that help bring about transformative change to create a food system that is socially-just, climate-smart and goes beyond sustainability; able to adapt vigorously to enhance the future habitability of our planet.”

      Then there is the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, run in conjunction with Nick Stern and Grantham LSE. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

      “The Centre’s mission is to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research.”

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      October 1, 2022 4:28 pm

      He also doesn’t seem to have factored in the fact that all those 24m homes would have to replace their boilers and appliances with hydrogen specific ones.

      • Dave Andrews permalink
        October 1, 2022 4:54 pm

        Should have added2if the hydrogen content is above 20%

    • Dave Ward permalink
      October 1, 2022 4:31 pm

      “Replacing gas with hydrogen for home heating could result in huge energy bill rises for households over the next three decades, a report by energy analyst Cornwall Insight has found”

  16. Bill Morgan permalink
    September 30, 2022 10:49 pm

    “Better take some oars” rings a bell, as a yachtsman. I’d prefer a petrol outboard on my dinghy, to an unpredictable battery pack. A pair of oars is essential, in both.

  17. JapanT permalink
    October 1, 2022 6:02 am

    Loss of electrical power is no small deal on a steam powered vessel, I’d image the same is true on a diesel powered vessel as well. The stupidity of many of our species never fails to mystify.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      October 1, 2022 2:09 pm

      The major difference is that the steam powered vessel or the diesel powered vessel generates its own electricity – the battery powered one doesn’t.

      • JapanT permalink
        October 1, 2022 4:15 pm

        Exactly. But when electrical power is lost, it causes mayhem. Mayhem that is correctable due to the fact that they have other means of propulsion and that they have the possibility or restoring electricity, depending of course on the severity of the casualty.

  18. Lez permalink
    October 1, 2022 10:17 am

    It won’t be quite so easy if the IoW ferry runs out of juice….

  19. Ian Johnson permalink
    October 1, 2022 2:25 pm

    Would a long power cable be useful?

  20. MrGrimNasty permalink
    October 1, 2022 2:37 pm

    It’s a sad day when only the Sun and Clarkson can be relied on for the truth.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 1, 2022 9:18 pm

      Spot on.

  21. Coeur de Lion permalink
    October 2, 2022 2:04 pm

    If it sank while on fire, would it boil the Harbour?

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