• Major Project

Ferry system electrification

Tokitae out on the harbor

Major Project overview

Washington State Ferries (WSF) will convert our ferry system, the largest in the country, to hybrid-electric power by 2040 following mandates from the Washington legislature and governor. Transitioning to a hybrid-electric fleet is necessary to reduce emissions, ensure resiliency, and reduce operations and maintenance costs.

As the biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions among Washington state agencies, WSF burns approximately nineteen million gallons of diesel fuel to support nearly twenty million passengers every year. This innovative electrification program will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save millions in fuel costs.

Timeline overview


Major project status



$1.68 billion secured funding | $3.98 billion total estimated cost

Major project alerts

WSF plans to publish an Invitation for Bid (IFB) in spring 2024 for the procurement of five hybrid-electric 160-auto ferries. See below for more information.

WSF aims to achieve an emission-free ferry fleet by 2050. This means converting six existing vessels to hybrid-electric power, building 16 new hybrid-electric vessels and adding shore charging to 16 terminals.

The Ferry System Electrification program is supported with funding from two major Washington state sources: Move Ahead Washington and the Climate Commitment Act (CCA). The CCA supports Washington’s climate action efforts by putting cap-and-invest dollars to work reducing climate pollution, creating jobs, and improving public health. Information about the CCA is available at www.climate.wa.gov . The program's funding sources also include grants and federal funding .

Hybrid-electric new vessel procurement

WSF is making progress on the procurement of up to five new hybrid-electric 160-Auto ferries, formerly referred to as HEOCs. WSF published a Request for Information (RFI) in December 2023 to obtain industry feedback in advance of the bid process. To view a consolidated list of questions and answers and other contracting materials from this RFI, please visit WSF’s contracting website .

WSF plans to issue this Invitation for Bid (IFB) in spring 2024. Potential bidders or suppliers are encouraged to register as an Interested Party with the WSF System Electrification Program to receive regular updates and have an option for your firm to be listed as an Interested Party.

Vessel Charging System (VCS) procurement

WSF issued a Request for Information (RFI) on Feb. 7, 2024, to obtain industry feedback as we launch procurement of the vessel charging system (VCS) for the hybrid-electric fleet. We appreciate the interest and involvement from all respondents. To view a consolidated list of questions and answers, please visit WSF’s contracting website .

Jumbo Mark II vessels

In August 2023, Washington State Ferries awarded Vigor Marine a contract of up to $150 million to convert the agency’s three largest ferries to hybrid electric power.

The Jumbo Mark II vessels are the largest in WSF’s fleet and produce 26% of WSF’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions. They also serve the most densely populated urban areas in Central Sound.

In Sept. 2023, Vigor Marine started work on the Wenatchee, expected to reenter service in fall 2024. Vigor will then begin converting the Tacoma. WSF has the option to extend the contract to convert a third boat, the Puyallup, in 2025.

While converting the vessels to hybrid electric power, Vigor Marine will modernize the ship’s controls and other outdated systems. These updates will improve reliability and help ensure these 25–27-year-old ferries serve our communities for decades longer.

Terminal electrification

WSF is in the process of planning and designing charging infrastructure at 16 of our ferry terminals. This effort begins with ensuring that each terminal will be able to secure sufficient energy through collaboration with local utilities.

In May 2023, WSF began a partnership with Puget Sound Energy to add medium voltage ferry charging capabilities to eight additional terminals, starting with Bainbridge Island. WSF and Seattle City Light signed a similar Memorandum of Understanding i n September 2022 to provide power to Colman Dock.

Additional resources

For a primer on WSF’s electrification efforts, please see this video:

For a more in-depth look at our ferry electrification efforts, watch the extended video.