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Norled, Aarbakke and SEAM are ready to produce a battery swap robot for electric express boats


Norled has together with SEAM developed a battery swap concept for electric speedboats that can accelerate emission cuts for the express boat industry. Norled has now awarded Aarbakke a contract to produce the prototype for the autonomous battery swap solution. SEAM has been awarded the contract for the automation and control system as well as project follow-up of the  design and development work related to the prototype.

-Norled wants to convert express boats from diesel to electric operation in order to cut CO2 emissions. We believe the battery swap system is the solution as the boats can maintain high speed and regularity without major upgrades to the power grid. The technology consist of  an autonomous robot that changes the vessel’s battery in no more than three minutes at the key side, instead of having to charge, which can take a long time. With solid and forward-looking partners such as Aarbakke and SEAM, we are now ready to realize the first prototype, says Heidi Wolden, CEO of Norled.

The contract with Aarbakke includes design review, detailed engineering, fabrication, assembly and testing of the prototype for the autonomous battery swap robot. The contract also includes an option for production of several robots. The prototype will be delivered at the end of 2022 and tested at Aarbakke on an advanced test platform. Norled, Aarbakke and SEAM will also collaborate on further development and commercialization of the technology which can be used on several types of vessels.

Aarbakke’s first green project

-The battery replacement robot is our first really green project – it creates a lot of enthusiasm among our employees. This shows that our focus on technology, digitization and environmentally friendly projects is yielding results. We look forward to the collaboration and are confident that this will be a success, says CEO of Aarbakke, Inge Brigt Aarbakke.

Aarbakke emphasizes that several local companies will take part in this project. – Companies such as Lapwing and Aarbakke Innovation will be important participants in the design phase. In addition, local subcontractors will be used for partial production.

SEAM has been central in the development of the autonomous battery swap system and will deliver the automation and control system. They will also work with design and development together with Aarbakke and general project follow-up for Norled.

– This is a very exciting project for us. It is a clear example of how the Norwegian maritime industry wants to invest in completely new solutions for cutting emissions, and we are proud to take part in this. The further development of this system is a major step in the right direction to enable full electric operation of express boats, which will have an enormous impact on the road to achieve zero emissions. We have had a good collaboration with Norled over several years, which has resulted in efficient, green solutions that can be taken forward in Norwegian sea transport, says CEO of SEAM, Gunvald Mortvedt.

Can be put into operation in the Oslo fjord

After thorough testing at Aarbakke, we hope to demonstrate the solution on a large scale in the Oslo Fjord at the end of 2023.