P&O Pioneer made its maiden voyage on the Dover-Calais route
As the longest ferry to sail between Dover and Calais, P&O Pioneer and its sister ship P&O Liberté, which will join the fleet later this year, will replace the capacity of three older vessels.
Investment by the company in two 230-metre long hybrid ships allows it to cut fuel use while maintaining capacity.
New hybrid ship P&O Pioneer is propelled by a combination of traditional fuel and battery power and has been designed with the capacity to become carbon neutral in future.
As technology develops and charging stations are brought in at ports, the installation of additional batteries will allow fully electric operation.
The ship will also be the world’s largest double-ended hybrid ferry, with two bridges meaning there is no need for it to turn in port, saving fuel on every sailing.
The two new ferries will produce 40% less carbon emissions than the ships they replace, the Pride of Kent and Pride of Canterbury.
P&O Pioneer is expected to carry out more than 100,000 crossings of the English Channel in its lifetime.
P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite said: “For the millions of passengers who sail with P&O Ferries between the UK and France, our two ultra-modern vessels being introduced this year will deliver a fantastic travel experience. We are determined to make P&O Ferries the best ferry company in Europe. That means the best ships, the best routes, and the best value for our customers.”