Exclusive: Wellington to get first electric ferry in Southern Hemisphere

Wellington will become the first place in the Southern Hemisphere to have a fully electric passenger ferry.

The company behind it now has its eyes set on a direct service from the CBD to the airport.

"It's hard to believe that we're going to be a first for New Zealand and also the Southern Hemisphere - but that's even more exciting," says Jeremy Ward, managing director of East by West.

His passion project is a $4 million, 19m-long, fully electric ferry. A new company's even been set up to build it from scratch in Wellingon.

"We're setting up a new industry here in Wellington; we've already got significant interest from other players in New Zealand and even, dare I say it, in Australia."

Unlike a regular ferry, where you can hear the rumbling diesel engine, the new one will be silent. It will also have no diesel fumes and can take more than 140 passengers.

"That would be cool as," one Wellingtonian told Newshub.

"Another first for New Zealand," said another.

Once it starts running between the city and Eastbourne, the new ferry will be working a full schedule alongside the two existing diesel-powered boats.

It will charge overnight and only needs a couple of half-hour quick charges during the day.

"It's the way of the future, and diesel's bloody awful," says Mr Ward.

But this isn't where his ambitions end. Once this is out of the way, he wants to launch a ferry service direct from the central city to Wellington Airport.

"We reckon we'll have punters or travellers from here to the airport door, with their bags, in under 20 minutes guaranteed."

The service would be made up of two smaller ferries berthing at Miramar Wharf.

"We reckon, the first year, we'd be moving 150,000 vehicle passenger movements off the road."

Judging by locals' reactions, it's already got the seal of approval.