Electric ferries on the San Francisco Bay? Here's the P-12 shuttle

Liz Kreutz Image
ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Electric ferries on the SF Bay? See the P-12 shuttle
Sweden-based boat company Candela is working to bring electric ferries to the San Francisco Bay Area.

SAUSALITO, Calif. (KGO) -- At first glance, it blended in with the hundreds of other boats docked in Sausalito. But the moment we hit the water, we realized part of what makes the electric boat we rode around on Tuesday so different.

It was quiet, fast and emission-free.

"It basically is a boat that flies above the waves," Veronica Cargay, a project manager for Candela Marine Tech, told ABC7 News. "Our boat basically uses 80% less energy than a traditional speedboat would, and the mission really is to help accelerate the transition to fossil fuel free waterways."

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Candela is an electric boat company based in Stockholm, Sweden with an office in Sausalito. Although ABC7 News took a test drive on one of their electric boats, it was not actually what we had come to talk about.

What we did want to talk about? The company's efforts to build a fully electric ferry.

"For us, the shuttle is an answer to that transition from the traditional big diesel passenger ferry to something that's electric" Cargay explained.

The company's ferry is called the P-12 shuttle. Renderings show a futuristic-looking, 40 foot catamaran that they say will be able to hold up to 30 people.

Cargay said the speed is a big part of the allure. It currently takes 30 minutes to go from Sausalito to San Francisco with Golden Gate Ferry. Cargay said with an electric ferry it would take roughly half that time.

"It allows the potential for more routes," she said. "If you have a smaller boat, it can get to more areas and it can really allow for the waterways to become a bigger way to commute to and from anywhere in the Bay."

The push towards electric ferries is already underway. The Water Emergency Transportation Authority -- the agency that provides San Francisco Bay ferry service -- was recently awarded a nearly $14 million grant from the state to help electrify Bay Area ferry terminals.

Cargay said the city of Stockholm has plans to do a beta-test with their ferry later this year. After that, they hope to be in the Bay Area.

'There's a lot of opportunities here to transition over to something that's electric and over to something that can get you where you're going quicker, can you get you where you're going in a smoother and more silent way," she said. "And so, for us, it made a lot of sense to be based here and to be based in communities that take water and sustainability seriously in a lot of ways."

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