Page 22: of Marine News Magazine (December 2020)
Innovative Boats & Products
TOP BOATS 2020
James V. Glynn and Nikola Tesla
All images: Maid of the Mist
By Eric Haun hristopher Glynn had known for some time that he there’s none of the exhaust fumes, engine noise or vibra- wanted to build all-electric vessels for his Niagara tions associated with diesel engines, Glynn said.
CFalls tour boat company Maid of the Mist. In Janu- In addition to their environmental credentials, the man- ary 2018 he decided in earnest that he was going to make ner by which these vessels were built also makes them quite it happen. unique. The 90.5-foot aluminum catamaran vessels were
But where to begin? Fully electric ferries had never been designed by John Koopman, president of Propulsion Data built in North America, so Maid of the Mist would be Services, and constructed modularly at Burger Boat Com- plying uncharted waters. Glynn, the company’s president, pany in Manitowoc, Wis. Each section was trucked to Ni- said he and his team started by doing their research—a lot agara Falls where the modules were lowered by crane into of research—and by hiring a team of consultants to help the gorge and pieced together at Maid of the Mist’s facility weigh their options. where they were also out? tted.
Inspired by the world’s ? rst all-electric ferry, Norled’s “It can’t be overstated how dif? cult it was to get the
Ampere in Norway, Glynn knew his team could bring boats assembled down in the gorge,” Glynn said, adding the innovative and emissions-free technology stateside. that the U.S. Coast Guard approval process, which he de- “We were very excited and intrigued by the opportunity,” scribed as “rigorous, and rightly so”, posed additional chal-
Glynn said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but it lenges. Glynn said Micah Tucker of Tucker Yacht Design could be done.” was instrumental in helping Maid of the Mist to navigate
And so began the pioneering journey to design, build this hurdle and other aspects of the project.
and commission America’s ? rst newbuild all-electric pas- Each vessel receives power from a pair of Spear Power Sys- senger vessels, James V. Glynn and Nikola Tesla. The ? rst- tems lithium-ion battery packs providing 316 kWh total ca- of-their-kind vessels entered service in October, each with pacity divided across two catamaran hulls. The battery banks capacity to carry up to 600 passengers to experience one power vertically mounted Ramme electric motors that drive of North America’s most well-known natural attractions. Veth azimuthing L-drives and Naiad Dynamics bow thrust-
Notably, the vessels are all-electric, not hybrid, meaning ers. ABB engineered the electric power management system
December 2020 22 MN