The hybrid-electric exploration cruise vessel Le Commandant Charcot became the first vessel of its kind to reach the geographic North Pole on September 6, 2021, as it was completing the sea trials in preparation for welcoming guests for the maiden voyage later this year. Equipped with Azipod propulsion technology, the luxury cruise ship produces minimal noise and vibrations to provide a comfortable passenger experience. Moreover, the ship’s energy storage system, supplied and integrated by ABB, is the largest ever delivered to a vessel of its kind at almost five megawatt hours, allowing the engines to be switched off for silent, emissions-free cruising.Le Commandant Charcot will also be available to the scientific community contributing to the global efforts in the study and preservation of the Poles and oceans. The vessel is equipped with measurement instruments, and features science labs as well as a moon pool for taking samples, with all of the equipment designed to meet the requirements of academic research. With that, Le Commandant Charcot offers a platform for observation, research and analysis to scientists around the world, enabling them to study remote areas by regularly collecting data in these zones.With the electric drive motor situated in a submerged pod outside the ship hull, the Azipod system can rotate 360 degrees, significantly increasing maneuverability and operating efficiency of a vessel and cutting fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared to conventional shaftline systems. Since its launch 30 years ago, Azipod propulsion has saved a total of over 1,000,000 tons of fuel in the passenger cruise segment alone. Options for Azipod® propulsion range from 1 to 22 megawatts, and its technology plays a key role in ABB’s strong position for environmentally friendly electric propulsion.Le Commandant Charcot is the first cruise ship with the ability to sail in ‘double-acting mode’, meaning it can navigate stern-first in ice conditions to improve safety and complete cruises in a timely and efficient manner. In addition, the Azipod® system allows the vessel to be brought to a complete stop in 50 percent less time than a ship with a traditional shaftline set-up.