Hurtigruten introduces electric explorer catamarans

Rendering showing Hurtigruten and Brim Explorer's groundbreaking electric explorer catamaran MS BardThe world leader in exploration travel has partnered with the Norwegian startup Brim Explorer, introducing battery powered catamarans custom built for Polar water exploration.

Debuting in the spring of 2020, the 24-meter vessel will operate a variety of daily silent and sustainable ocean excursions from her homeport Longyearbyen on the Arctic island of Svalbard – operating under the Hurtigruten Svalbard brand.

Brim and Hurtigruten found each other through our common passion for the oceans. Their vision to change the way people experience the Arctic is a perfect match to our bold sustainability ambitions. We firmly believe the future of travel is emission-free – , Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam says.

The future of the travel industry

Featuring large battery packs, the hybrid catamaran will be one of the world’s most flexible electric ships. She can be charged at virtually any port and operate on batteries for 10 hours with a cruising speed of 10 knots.

– A green footprint is the future of the travel industry – in the Polar regions and elsewhere. With a great idea and dedicated partners like Hurtigruten, we have set out to build a ship unlike any the world has seen, Brim Explorer co-founder and CEO Agnes Árnadóttir.

2019: Lofoten and Northern Norway

Brim Explorer’s first vessel – similar to her sister that will operate exclusively under the Hurtigruten Svalbard brand – is currently under construction in Norway. Debuting in August 2019, she will offer Hurtigruten guests travelling along the Norwegian coast truly unique excursions:

**The rugged and awe-inspiring Lofoten Islands (spring and summer), based out of Svolvær.

**Clean and silent northern light voyages (winter) based out of the Arctic capital of Tromsø.

With their clean, futuristic design, both ships will feature large windows that will take the 140 guests closer to the elements – with as little impact as possible.

Challenging the industry – strict sustainability standards

– At Hurtigruten, we demand that partners adapt the same, strict standards on sustainability as we follow. As Hurtigruten, Brim is challenging the industry to move in a greener direction. Together we can offer an experience that is truly unique and sustainable – both for our guests and the communities and areas we visit, Skjeldam says.

– By combining wave-breaking and green technology, clean Nordic design and focus on sustainable travel, we have created the first sightseeing vessel in the world able to operate a full day on electric power, and we look forward to using our knowledge to move the travel industry in a greener direction together with Hurtigruten, Árnadóttir adds.

In addition to the scenery, guests will be able to enjoy premium food offerings from Hurtigruten’s acclaimed, locally sourced food concepts.

To fully capture wildlife both above and below the surface, the explorer catamarans will also feature hydrophones and underwater drones from another Norwegian startup already partnering with Hurtigruten – Blueye Robotics. Their drones will be introduced to several of Hurtigruten’s expedition cruise ships, as well as all Brim Explorer experiences.

The introduction of the battery powered excursion catamarans is the latest in a number of Hurtigruten green initiatives. Hurtigruten celebrated its 125th anniversary by banning all single-use-plastics. In 2019, Hurtigruten will introduce MS Roald Amundsen, the world’s first hybrid powered cruise ship.

In another industry first, Hurtigruten is completely rebuilding existing ships to run on a combination of large battery packs, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and biogas (LBG) – produced from organic waste such as dead fish.

Joint technology development projects

Hurtigruten and Hurtigruten Svalbard will also work closely with Brim Explorer to continuously improve and develop the green technology, such as integrating solar panels with the electric driveline to exploit the 24-hour Arctic sun to charge the batteries while sailing. Developing renewable energy stations in smaller ports for charging is another project under development.

Facts: Hurtigruten Svalbard

Hurtigruten Svalbard is a fully owned Hurtigruten subsidiary – and the Arctic archipelago’s biggest, oldest and most experienced provider of year-round land-based adventure tourism activities. Hurtigruten Svalbard owns and operates three hotels, a number of bars and restaurants, and a wide variety of all-season adventure experiences.