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LifeCraft’s Revolutionary Torqeedo-Powered Electric Evacuation System

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An ultramodern, 100% electric evacuation system that doubles as a lifeboat and life raft. This is VIKING’s electric, Torqeedo-powered LifeCraft,, cwhich was chosen by KiwiRail. We are dealing with a large New Zealand company that is involved in New Zealand railway operations and inter-island ferry management. 

What does LifeCraft offer and why is it in effect a project capable of creating great global attention?

LifeCraft: safety in sea transportation

With the LifeCraft system, a real breakthrough point is created in cruise and ferry safety. This is the first advanced evacuation system, which includes four autonomous 203-person rescue crafts and a storage unit placed on the deck or embedded in the side of the ship. 

With innovative technologies and its revolutionary hybrid solution structure, the LifeCraft is already regarded as a total enhancement of passenger and crew safety. The system relies on a high-thrust electric propulsion system from Torqeedo, which is designed to be ultra-compact, provides safe evacuation for passengers at sea, and most importantly providing for very minimal maintenance. 
“VIKING’s LifeCraft is truly innovative, as is its electric drive system, which must ensure maximum reliability. The Torqeedo team has enjoyed participating in the development of LifeCraft, and we are excited to see its first implementation on the new KiwiRail ferries. Torqeedo’s electric drives enable all kinds of next-generation technology, from foiling powerboats to large sailing yachts and life-saving equipment,” commented Fabian Bez, CEO of Torqeedo GmbH.

Let’s try to think about what happens annually, with more than 800,000 people ready to move between the North and South Island of New Zealand. Enhancing the safety of every trip is possible by relying on state-of-the-art life-saving equipment, the same equipment that will then allow two new diesel-hybrid-electric ferries to be used in 2025 to cross the Cook Strait, the crossing of which is ensured precisely by an efficient ferry system.

When KiwiRail meets LifeCraft

The powerful qualities and features of this electric system were recently chosen as a form of protection on KiwiRail’s new 1,900-passenger hybrid-electric interislander ferries. 

But why is it called a revolutionary choice? First of all, because of the kind of change they represent. Indeed, think of traditional lifeboats, which, equipped with combustion engines, take up valuable space on board. And in many cases they are never used during the entire lifetime of the ship. Nevertheless, they always require:

  • High level of maintenance
  • Repeated security checks
  • Practice drills by specialized teams

With the LifeCraft, any additional activity that is unnecessary can be eliminated because it is a motorized inflatable boat with a slide system to support passengers and an electric battery propulsion. This last detail reveals that its weight is low and its structure is light.

Electric systems advance and improve the level of safety 

What is surprising about an electric system, now widely established and steadily growing in the navigation industry, is its speed of operation and reliability. No longer do you need frequent access to fuel, oil, and ignition systems, but the crew themselves will be able to consult the system status at the touch of a button.

LifeCraft chose to rely on Torqeedo, starting with four Cruise electric pod drives powered by Power 24-3500 lithium-ion batteries. Finally, you can find a motor installed in every corner of the boat for redundancy and maneuverability.

According to data provided by VIKING’s Vice President of Sales for Cruise & LifeCraft, Mr. Niels Fraende, more than 800 people can be evacuated in 30 minutes. And it also saves space on board, enhancing the ship’s maneuverability. 

The LifeCraft system is a luxury, as it helps forgo dangerous lifeboat drills. It can also carry out search and rescue operations should another ship in the area require support.