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US-based electric seaglider manufacturer Regent has unveiled a full scale mock-up of its passenger seaglider prototype, slated for flight testing in 2024, and has revealed plans to expand its global headquarters in Rhode Island to include up to 600,000 sq ft of new manufacturing and test facilities in order to begin fulfilling $8 billion in commercial orders by mid-decade.
Regent seagliders are a new category of maritime vehicle that combine the high speed of an aircraft with the low operating cost of a boat. These all-electric, zero emission vessels operate exclusively over water and leverage existing dock infrastructure to carry people and goods up to 180 miles with current battery technology.
Following successful flights of the company's ¼ scale prototype last year, the mock-up represents a key next step in the build journey for Regent that will enable customers to begin interfacing with the full scale vehicle design and think about the passenger experience. The company also said that it has tapped EP Systems and MAGicALL as key vendors for the batteries and motors that will power the prototype's all-electric distributed propulsion system.
“This mock-up, along with the announcement of our plans to build new facilities, showcases our growth trajectory and our commitment to begin production as soon as possible,” says co-founder and CEO Billy Thalheimer. “Our studies, based on publicly validated data, show that our seagliders serve an $11 billion market that we project to swell to as much as $25 billion as battery technology advances. The $8 billion in orders we have already received from a variety of companies around the world reflects the need for fast, reliable and sustainable maritime transportation.”
The unveiling comes during an era of hyper-growth for the company that has already procured over $50 million in funding since its launch just two years ago. In the past few months, Regent has appointed aerospace visionaries David Neeleman, co-founder of Breeze Airways, JetBlue and Azul Airlines, and Dennis Muilenburg, former CEO of The Boeing Company, to its board of advisors; received strategic investments from Japan Airlines, Lockheed Martin and Japan's Yamato Holdings; and continued to build its order book to more than 500 seagliders from a swath of companies including Brittany Ferries, FRS in Germany, Mesa Airlines, Ocean Flyer in New Zealand and Mokulele Airlines.
As it looks ahead to the future and brings its products to market, Regent confirms that Southern Airways/Mokulele Airlines will receive the first commercial passenger seagliders once they hit the market, promising to increase their commitment to serving coastal and island residents around the globe.
"Since shortly after our founding, Southern Airways has been working towards the day when all of our flying would be green,” says chairman and CEO Stan Little. “During that time we've been approached by dozens of companies seeking our participation in their efforts. It wasn't until we saw the work being done by Regent that we decided to commit to a vehicle outside our current fleet. The seaglider is truly transformative, and Southern Airways is incredibly proud to be the launch customer through our Mokulele brand."
Sustainable energy provider Pacific Current will support local operators with access to vehicle leasing and financing solutions, as well as dock and charging infrastructure that will map to important inter and intra island commercial routes affordably. Overall, the seaglider network gives Mokulele the ability to stand up a fast, convenient affordable transportation solution that will not require passengers to have to go to an airport.
Regent expects its first commercial Viceroy seagliders to enter service by mid-decade.