The world’s first all-electric ship-handling tug Sparky – wins the prestigious ‘Tug of the Year award’ at the 2022 International Tug & Salvage Awards in Istanbul, Turkey. The impressively powerful and emission-free tug, that operates on Echandia’s LTO batteries, has a 70-ton bollard pull that will stack up with the performance of any conventional tug.

Most ship-handling harbor tugs operate under harsh conditions and are set to take on heavy-duty jobs. Thus, tugboats running on lithium batteries might seem like an exceptionally difficult proposition. However, since August 2022, Sparky – the world’s first all-electric tug – operate New Zealand’s Ports of Auckland on Echandia’s LTO batteries. Sparky can take on two to four assignments before recharging.

Now, Sparky has gotten some well-deserved recognition for its trailblazing qualities. In the 2022 Annual Tug & Salvage Award, Sparky won the category ‘Tug of the year’ despite tough competition. The winners were announced at the ITS Awards show, in the presence of the industry community, where it was recognized by shipyards, operators, and individuals as the new benchmark in tugboat operations.

Electrifying port operations is key to lower harmful emissions and increase the quality of life in harbors and densely populated areas. Ports of Auckland is a forerunner and has set the target to become emission free by 2040. Given the size of its operation, this is no small task. With Sparky, that is not only feasible, but also economically viable. A single electric tug like Sparky can abate around 500 ton of CO2 per year with a running cost of less than a third of a diesel equivalent tug.

We are extremely happy that the E-tug Sparky can show the way for other ports and operators, to become more efficient. With this groundbreaking achievement, we now actually see a huge interest in making port operations emission free with our battery systems.”, says CEO Fredrik Hellström, in a comment. 

Sparky is a 25 meter long vessel with a draft of six meters. It has a twin set of azimuth thrusters with a three meter diameter. The tugboat with its impressive performance is powered by Echandias E-TUG, LTO-based battery system. The 2.8 MWh battery system is especially well suited for high-power operations (10 MW of peak-power, allowing for 70 ton bollard pull) and fast charging.

Echandia’s battery system has a lifetime equal to the 30 year planned lifetime of the vessel – making its total cost of ownership extremely low. The total cost of ownership will be equal to or lower than that of a diesel-powered tug.

About Echandia

Echandia is a world leader in the development of advanced battery and fuel-cell systems for maritime and industrial applications. Echandia’s solutions are designed to meet the highest quality and life-time requirements and endure the toughest demands and operational profiles. Echandia is based in Stockholm, Sweden. For more information, please visit: