Washington State Ferries opens bids for new hybrid-electric designs

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Washington State Ferries (WSF) is initiating the process to build five new hybrid diesel/electric ferries, aiming to have two in operation by 2028, two more by 2029, and the fifth by 2030. While some politicians advocate for diesel-only vessels for quicker completion, WSF officials argue that the hybrid design offers a faster path forward. Switching back to diesel would require new manufacturers and design work. The bid process aims to gauge interest from shipbuilding companies, with contracts expected to be awarded in 2025. WSF plans to expand its fleet to 21 to 26 vessels by 2040, with 22 being hybrid diesel/electric, to reduce carbon emissions by 76%. The new vessels aim to improve capacity, speed, and fuel efficiency, with design work expected to take one year and construction two years.

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