New Seaglider Could Transform Coastal Travel

This cross between a boat and an airplane glides above the water.

Oct 4, 2021
New Seaglider Could Transform Coastal Travel | This cross between a boat and an airplane glides above the water.

When you want to travel from New York to Boston, you can take the airport shuttle. Or if you are traveling between two other urban coastal areas you can catch a ferry. Now, a Boston company wants to transform the way people commute with a zero emission electric combination plane and boat.

REGENT CRAFT’s seaglider – that is not yet named – will be a much faster way to travel because it glides on air only a few meters above the water like a hovercraft. Designed by two aerospace engineers – MIT graduates Billy Thalheimer and Mike Klinker – the 100 percent EV has a 180-mile (289 kilometer) range and can reach up to 180 mph (389 kph) according to the company.

The design of the seaglider combines both wing-in ground and hydrofoil technologies that gives it stability. The craft has a retractable foil that allows for maneuverability in ports and retracts when it is in open seas.

When the seaglider lands on water, it will switch to a foiling boat to taxi to a dock and doesn’t require any special infrastructure, according to Robbs Report. It is designed to be six times faster than a ferry and will save hours off of going to an airport.

“The efficiency of coastal transportation will be a hundred times greater with REGENT,” Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks’ owner who is part of the Founder Fund, a group of companies and investors that led the company’s latest financing round told Robbs Report. “The idea of having to get between two coastal points is always stress inducing. REGENT changes all that and makes it fast and easy.”

What makes the seaglider different from electric airplanes is that it is considered a ship and will operate under maritime regulations according to CNN Travel, and it will not have the same constraints as airplanes. In fact, the US coast guard will oversee the new vehicle.

Thalheimer told CNN that they are also working with the Federal Aviation Administration because he feels it is prudent to get them involved. He sees these types of vehicles as a part of a larger multi-faceted electric vehicle network and expects them to share infrastructure with eVTOLS and longer range commercial electric airplanes.

REGENT’s first vehicle will carry 12 passengers  and they expect it to be commercially viable by 2025. The company plans to fly an unmanned prototype at 25 percent scale by the end of 2021 and a full-scale model by 2023. After that, the company is planning a 50-passenger model.

The expected price will be in the $50-80 range and could go much lower, This makes it very compatible with existing commercial fares. The rate of the Delta shuttle from NY to Boston is currently $59.

The idea is extremely popular, with REGENT having already received letters of intent from ferries and airlines and there is a recent partnership with Brittany Ferries and SplitExpress. The future of intra-city commuting could be sailing along to a bright future.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.