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An all-electric, zero-emission ferry in Lorient, France. Photo: Jean-Sebastien Evrard/AFP/Getty Images

Ships are the latest mode of transportation to see electric upgrades as the maritime industry faces increased pressure to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-fuel propulsion.

The big picture: Passenger ferries are ideal for electric propulsion using current battery technology, which can reduce water and air pollution while providing a quiet, vibration-free trip. Short routes with frequent stops along populated shorelines offer ample opportunities to charge the battery packs.

Where it stands: Globally, there were 185 battery-powered vessels operating or scheduled for delivery in 2018, 58 of which were passenger ferries.

Background: Norway introduced the first all-electric ferry, named the MF Ampere, in 2015, to shuttle passengers between villages in the fjords.

What's new: The Maid of the Mist Corporation has announced that it will launch 2 all-electric, zero-emission boats in September on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls — the first domestically built all-electric boats used for tourists in the U.S.

What to watch: With battery costs declining, expect more new and converted all-electric passenger ferries to operate across the U.S.

  • Washington State Ferries will introduce a 150-passenger hybrid ferry in Puget Sound later this year that runs on both diesel and battery power, using up to 60% less fuel than diesel counterparts. 
  • Also this year, New York City plans to introduce a 150-person ferry to shuttle commuters across the East River, from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Maggie Teliska is a technical specialist at Caldwell Intellectual Property Law and CTO of Regent Power. She is also a member of GLG, a platform connecting businesses with industry experts.

Go deeper

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been hospitalized, one day after his doctor warned that the jailed Putin critic "could die at any moment," Russia's prison service said Monday.

Why it matters: News that Navalny's condition had severely deteriorated on the third week of a hunger strike prompted outrage from his supporters and international demands for Russia to provide him with immediate medical treatment.

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Why it matters: The jury is still out on whether there was a trade-off between the dual imperatives; a new analysis from Hamilton Place Strategies shows no clear correlation between the two.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The biggest hurdle for President Biden in winning new emissions reduction commitments at this week's White House summit is America's on-again, off-again history of climate change efforts.

Why it matters: The global community is off course to meet the temperature targets contained in the Paris Climate Agreement. The White House wants the summit Thursday and Friday to begin to change that.