Energy storage technologies on the horizon could fundamentally improve plug-in hybrid vessel operation. The life of a vessel is typically much longer than a passenger or heavy-duty vehicle. An investment now in such ship technology might be expected to see substantial improvements in life cycle costs. The typical application would require periodic replacement of battery packs which would allow for technology improvements to be enjoyed. Technologies both current, near-term and further out hold promise. The potential energy density increases could fundamentally change the usage model. Operational aspects, utility costs, vessel types and route characteristics play a role in the equation.

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