The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has launched the bidding process for the construction of a brand new fleet of hybrid-electric ferries.

Aiming to replace its existing diesel-heavy fleet, WSDOT recently invited potential applicants to submit qualifications to build five hybid-electric vessels, with formal submission set to follow by the end of 2024.

Rendering of a new hybrid-electric ferry

Of the prospective candidates, the company will select up to two separate companies to deliver the project, with the new boats, which are expected to support both the Mukitleo – Clinton and Seattle – Bremerton routes, hoped to be in operation by 2030.

The new vessels are set to be capable of carrying up to 160 vehicles and 1,500 passengers.

Currently, funding for the project stands at 1.68 billion USD, with a total estimate of 4 billion USD. Successful contributions thus far include 599 million USD from the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) and 1.03 billion from Move Ahead Washington.

Plans for WSDOT’s hybrid-electric vessels began as early as 2018, following an executive order to begin the transition to an-emission free fleet. As part of the order, the company’s greenhouse gas emissions are also required to be at net zero by the start of 2050.

The company published its System Electrification Plan in 2020, which sets out plans for meeting zero-emission goals via the construction and introduction of hybrid-electric vehicles and charging stations within its ferry terminals, as well as plans to build 16 new vessels by 2040, as well as convert six diesel-only vessels to hybrid-electric power.



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