North America

Elizabeth River Ferries Achieve Impressive Fuel Savings with Volvo Penta Engines

“We estimate we have saved nearly 3,500 gallons of fuel per year with the Volvo Penta engines.”

Elizabeth River Ferries Achieve Impressive Fuel Savings with Volvo Penta Engines

That’s what Deon Glover, chief operating officer of Norfolk by Boat, had to say about his fleet of Volvo Penta-powered passenger ferries.

Norfolk by Boat operates three aluminum ferries on behalf of Hampton Roads Transit on the Elizabeth River. The picturesque vessels, with their trademark stern paddlewheels, carry up to 150 passengers at a time between downtown Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia. During the peak summer season, they operate every 30 minutes with 15-minute crossing times for 15-19 hours per day.

In 2014, the company repowered one of its ferries with a Volvo Penta 13-liter 400 hp engine. Based on the engine’s superior performance, fuel economy, reduced emissions and low noise levels, they decided to specify the same D13-400 engines in two new ferries, which were built in 2016 and 2017.

Norfolk by Boat couldn’t be more pleased with the engines’ speed, power and reliability, not to mention the extraordinary level of technical support they get from the Volvo Penta engineering and service team.

VPA HRT-Ferry Crossing

“Our ferries are constantly shifting in and out of gear, pulling in and out of docks, fighting the tide and wind all day long,” said Glover. “We needed something very reliable. I’m telling you these engines offer every aspect of reliability.”

While the annual 3,500 gallons of fuel savings is impressive, so is the customer service from Volvo Penta, which has its U.S. headquarters in Chesapeake, Virginia, just a 20-minute drive from the Elizabeth River docks. “The customer service is just mind blowing,” said Glover.

“We take great pride in our reputation for engineering excellence and customer satisfaction,” said Ron Huibers, president and CEO of Volvo Penta of the Americas. “It’s especially rewarding when we’re working with a local boat operator right here in our home region.”

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Photo caption: The Elizabeth River Ferry operator estimates 3,500 gallons per year in fuel savings from the Volvo Penta engines.

About Volvo Penta

Volvo Penta, with approximately 3,500 dealers in over 130 countries, is a world-leading and global manufacturer of engines and complete power systems for boats, vessels and industrial applications. The engine program comprises diesel and gasoline engines with power outputs of between 10 and 1,000 hp. Volvo Penta is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of heavy trucks, buses and construction equipment.

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For further information, please contact:

Christine Carlson

Volvo Penta of the Americas

Phone: +1 (757) 382 4084


Jim Rhodes

Rhodes Communications, Inc.

Phone: +1 (757) 451 0602