BC Ferries is set to roll out a new line of hybrid vessels starting next year.

The new battery-powered hybrid-electric vessels, called Island Class ferries, will service small routes between Vancouver Island and surrounding communities.

The ships will be able to carry 47 vehicles and up to 300 passengers and crew. They will feature lounge areas on the main deck, charging stations for electronics, an overhead sundeck with seating, accessible washrooms and bicycle parking spaces.

BC Ferries describes the ships' hybrid diesel-electric propulsion systems as being among the most efficient and quiet in the world and expects each Island Class ferry to have a minimum service life of 40 years.

Next year, two Island Class ferries will join the fleet and enter service at the Powell River-Texada route and Port McNeill -Alert Bay-Sointula route.

By 2022, four Island Class ferries will begin servicing Vancouver Island. Two hybrid ferries will join the Campbell River-Quadra Island route and two will be added to the Nanaimo Harbour-Gabriola Island route.

"The new Island Class ferries are nearly finished," reads an update from BC Ferries referring to the two vessels set to enter service next year.

"They will be on their way from Galati, Romania at the end of August, arriving in Victoria in October. Once they arrive, they will be recommissioned, christened with their new names, and crew training will begin."

The first two Island Class ferries are estimated to cost a combined $86.5-million. Once in service, BC Ferries expects to see 10-20 per cent savings in fuel costs.