Wellington takes next step towards first electric ferry in Southern Hemisphere

Wellington remains on track to be the first in the Southern Hemisphere to have a fully electric passenger ferry.

Despite COVID-19 delaying construction, on Friday the boat deck was lifted onto the hull - a significant step towards its eventual launch.

The ferry was planned to be fully functional by July, but COVID-19 pushed the launch date back until at least November.

"Structurally it's pretty well complete, we've got a lot of work to do yet installing the batteries and the motors," says Wellington Electric Boat Building Managing Director Fraser Foote.

The entire ferry is built with carbon fibre, making it extremely strong and light.

Foote says the deck is 1335kg, which is less than most four-wheel-drive cars.

"The lighter the boat is, the better it'll go, the faster it'll go, the less energy it'll use," he says.

The boat is designed to carry passengers across Wellington Harbour with zero emissions.

Every part of the ferry is being built in Lower Hutt, and when finished, it'll have the capacity to carry 135 passengers.

East By West Managing Director Jeremy Ward says the boat's noise level is "amazing".

"It's fully electric so absolutely dead-quiet - you won't hear a noise on it. Which will be amazing because you know how noisy boats can be."