HybriDrive Propulsion System

By Keith Henderson at November 17, 2011 06:21
Filed Under: Company News

At the recent Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, Northern Lights Inc, manufacturers of generators and Lugger brand diesels announced a hybrid propulsion system. It combines their long standing expertise in marine generator design with BAE Systems’ HybriDrive technology, used with considerable success in commercial motor vehicles in several countries.


Caption: Main parts of the HybriDrive Propulsion System including optional auxiliary controllers.
Image Credit: BAE Systems

Currently in service in over 3,500 applications worldwide, the HybriDrive system uses a Propulsion Control System (PCS) to direct power produced from the generator(s) for immediate use, or hold it in an Energy Storage System (ESS) - a special battery pack, to later provide emission free and silent power from the electric propulsion motor.

There is an optional auxiliary power kit:  providing electrical power to auxiliaries such as bow thrusters, winches etc as well as AC current for the vessel’s “hotel loads” such as cooking, lighting, airconditioning, cooking etc. It also manages energy provided from a shore power line, ensuring that the ESS is charged as well as looking after other onboard requirements.

The PCS, by managing the power of the ESS and generator ensures that the generator operates at its optimum output, thereby reducing emissions and improving efficiency. It also allows for periods of silence when the generator is off and electrical energy is only supplied from the ESS.

As the system modules are connected only with cables there is full flexibility in the placement of the individual components throughout the ship, with the exception of the electric motor and propeller shaft. A major saving of space can therefore be achieved and locations selected to minimize noise and vibrations.

The system is applicable to sailing yachts as well as motor yachts. The electric propulsion motor can also operate as a generator to charge the ESS by harnessing the energy of a  “windmilling” propeller.

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