Welcome to Thomas Insights – every day, we publish the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in the industry. Sign up here to get the top articles of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
The quest for low-emission air transport makes a lot of sense. After all, according to the EPA, aviation is responsible for about 10% of all transportation emissions globally—that’s good for more than 900 million tons of CO2. Perhaps that’s what prompted Boston, Massachusetts-based REGENT to develop what they describe as a new category of vehicle called seaplanes.
The zero-emission, all-electric, land-wing vehicle is designed to operate exclusively on water and is being positioned as an environmentally friendly solution to reducing the time, cost and carbon footprint of moving people and goods between coastal cities. .
REGENT’s first seaplane, which they have named Viceroy, can float on its V-shaped hull or reach speeds of up to 40 knots while on the water through the use of rear cantilevered hydrofoils and eight electric motors. Once airborne, the aircraft can reach speeds of up to 160 knots. Working to optimize its power, the plane rises only a few meters from the surface of the water, relying on the phenomenon of ground effect that creates a cushion of air on which it can fly.
Hydrofoils, distributed electric propulsion and fly-by-wire controls are intended to provide safer port maneuvering and wave tolerance without sacrificing passenger comfort. The company also highlights the use of the Siemens Xcelerator software portfolio to help improve seaplane design.
According to REGENT, 40% of the global population lives in coastal communities, which means the 12-passenger Viceroy can provide enhanced transportation and logistics services to these areas. It currently offers a battery range of 180 miles, but could see that extended to 500 miles with the next generation of batteries currently in development. While there is currently no pricing information, REGENT is targeting a 2025 launch for the Viceroy.
Image credit: Regent