Vessev has completed early testing for Auckland’s first fully electric passenger vessel, which will be operated by Fullers360.

The VS—9 is an electric foiling vessel that will initially provide premium private water transport services in addition to existing ferry fleets.

Fullers360, the largest ferry operator in New Zealand, will be the first to integrate this technology.

By using advanced foiling technology, the VS—9 ‘flies’ above the waves, minimising the impact of wave action. This results in a smoother and more comfortable ride for passengers, even in rough sea conditions.


Initial Testing


Launched in May 2024 at Auckland’s Westhaven Marina, the VS—9 has undergone 24 test sessions as part of its initial validation campaign.

VS-9 Seakeeping
VS-9 seakeeping

Its robust sea trials and risk mitigation testing will pave the way for it to obtain certification by Maritime New Zealand.

To date, the testing has confirmed the VS—9’s ability to operate smoothly in sea-states with waves averaging 0.75 metres, and some waves exceeding 1.0 metres.

In contrast, a conventional 9-metre chase boat struggled to maintain pace without significant discomfort.

Eric Laakmann, CEO of Vessev, said:

On some test sessions, we experienced gusts of 25 to 35 knots with corresponding wind waves. The VS—9 managed these conditions with ease, a testament to its advanced design.

These initial tests focused on evaluating the VS—9’s core functionality before final outfitting with the cabin and interior, which will be added in July before the VS—9 is relaunched in August.

The current testing success is attributed to the vessel’s foiling system, which allows it to rise above waves.

Max Olson Vessev founder and CTO said:

The performance is possible due to the foil system we’ve chosen. We use many of the same techniques used by winning America’s Cup teams such as high precision flaps which change shape below the water to optimise the angle of attack. The flaps can move very quickly – end-to-end in less than half a second. They really give the VS—9 so much authority in waves to react to them and maintain an incredibly stable platform.

Traditionally, vessels have to be a minimum size to deliver a comfortable experience based on wind and wave action, whereas hydrofoiling technology overcomes this restriction. This development may therefore provide new opportunities for water transport services.

Laakmann added:

Through enhanced capability, we expect that entirely new marine services are going to crop up on bodies of water around the world. Smaller, more nimble vessels delivering point-to-point services alongside traditional ferry fleets. These vessels will change the way we use our waters.

The VS—9


The nine-metre VS—9 will transport up to 10 passengers at a service speed of 25 knots. It has a range of 50 nautical miles (57 miles/92.6km).

It is constructed using carbon fibre laminates to enhance its resilience. What’s more, the VS—9’s foils are fully retractable, enabling it to operate in shallow water without risk of damage.

The VS-9
The VS-9

Scaling Up


Vessev also plans to scale up this technology for larger vessels, such as the 100-passenger VS—18.

In addition, although the VS—9 is initially designed for commercial use, the company states that it has also garnered interest from the recreational market. In the future, potential variations of the VS—9 may cater to private boaters and superyacht owners.

Laakmann noted:

In our local area in New Zealand, there are some ferry routes which are often cancelled due to weather. These are routes which have more exposure to wind and waves. The VS-18, and vessels like it, will be able to ride above the waves and deliver a more consistent and pleasant service than what exists today.


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