SEATTLE, WA — Washington State Ferries will begin the process of converting three Jumbo Mark II vessels from diesel to hybrid-electric power.
The ferry system announced Tuesday the state will receive $35 million from the federal Volkswagen settlement to retrofit the Tacoma, Wenatchee, and Puyallup.
Ferries consume the most diesel in Washington, and the fleet’s three largest boats account for more than a quarter of that. Ferries officials said the conversion brings them much closer to meeting Governor Jay Inslee’s goal of a zero-emissions fleet and should reduce costs in the long-term.
“In addition to reducing emissions, moving to an all-electric ferry fleet will save taxpayers money on ferry operating costs, virtually eliminate engine noise and vibration that can hurt orca whales, and improve the reliability of service,” Gov. Inslee said in a statement.
The planning and design process will continue through 2020, with construction expected to begin in 2021. According to Ferries, converting the three vessels will reduce carbon emissions by the same amount as taking 10,000 cars off the road.