Boston-based manufacturer Regent Craft Inc. is building a new all-electric ground effect vehicle (GEV) called a Seaglider that’s capable of flying at 180 miles-per-hour. Regent has already gathered $465 million in pre-orders for their swift electric hybrid craft which boasts twice the range of conventional electric planes and could revolutionize coastal transportation services.
According to their official website, Regent’s goals aim to “drastically reduce the cost and headache of regional transportation between coastal cities. Our vehicle, called a Seaglider, is a wing-in-ground-effect craft that operates a few meters off the water's surface and couples the high speed of an airplane with the low operating cost of a boat.”
Constructed to similar safety margins of both modern aircraft and watercraft, Regent’s sleek Seaglider hopes to service commuter service routes up to 180 miles using existing battery technology, and routes extending to 500 miles with next-gen batteries, all using current docking structures. Their crew of MIT-trained, ex-Boeing engineers are committed to delivering the zero-emission, high-speed Seaglider to consumers by 2025.
"The speed, comfort, and navigation systems of an aircraft with the convenience, maneuverability, and affordability of a boat," explains the Regent press release.
GEVs are special aircraft engineered to fly so low that they actually ride on a cushion of air pressure existing between the wing and the surface, which is technology that allows for additional lift and greatly improves their efficiency.
This aerodynamic effect does have certain limitations though, and the craft can’t fly beyond that narrow ground effect zone, something that lets them be legally registered as boats in particular regions. Full electric propulsion tech intends on keeping things inexpensive and basic while its hydrofoil design gives the mash-up vehicle advantages when touching down in water.
Regent’s current financing round lured some heavy-hitting investors, including Dallas Mavericks owner and technology investor Mark Cuban, Y Combinator, Caffeinated Capital, Thiel Capital, Relativity Space founder Jordan Noone, and Fitbit founder James Park.
“The efficiency of coastal transportation will be 100x greater with Regent,” said Cuban in Regent’s official press release. “There is no other way to describe it. The idea of having to get between two coastal points is always stress inducing. Regent changes all that and makes it fast and easy. Regent will give people a step-change improvement in transportation. Passengers will spend less time in transit and more time with their families.”