Hawaii plans to build electric seaglider transport network

Regent, the company behind an all-electric, hybrid air and water seaglider still in prototype, wants to build a sustainable method of coastal transit for the US state.

The US state of Hawaii is creating an electric seaglider transportation network to help drive innovation in the passenger and freight sectors and build a resilient and sustainable transportation ecosystem.

Regent is the company behind an all-electric, hybrid air and water seaglider still in prototype, and has chosen Pacific Current, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI), as its preferred energy and infrastructure partner in the project.

Mokulele Airlines, a Southern Airways Company, will be the launch partner for the seaglider network and has announced their intention to bring a fleet of Regent’s 12-passenger Viceroy seagliders to the island chain.

Community engagement

Regent embarked on a community listening tour in the summer of 2021. Key members of the management team have spent almost a full year engaging with stakeholders across the public, private, and civic sectors to understand the needs of the residents, learn more about the unique ecosystems associated with the region, and support state officials to think through Hawaii’s sustainability and resiliency goals.

“Regent is committed to helping Hawaii move toward a sustainable transportation future and knows that the very first step is to listen and learn what the community cares about,” said Billy Thalheimer, CEO and co-founder of Regent. “The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive and the opportunity to build a seaglider network for Hawaii is a dream come true. We’re thrilled to help push the boundaries of innovation in clean transportation for the state.

SMS Research, a market research firm based in Honolulu, will look at the economic, environmental, and community benefits and challenges associated with introducing seagliders to the state. The study focuses on the economic impact on the state as well as how seagliders can help advance affordability and accessibility of transportation, including assessing the impact of adding new routes and services to improve access for underserved communities. Finally, the study will also include a detailed analysis of various ports and harbours led by Ekna Services, a Honolulu-based engineering and construction management firm.

Thalheimer added: “We recognise that Hawaii is a special place, with a sacred culture, sensitive environmental ecosystems, and unrivalled biodiversity. The feasibility study continues our commitment to engage with local communities, civic organisations, and all appropriate private and public sectors leaders to understand how seagliders can help improve the daily lives of the residents. We are excited and humbled to be a part of this team accelerating Hawaii’s push toward a zero-emission future.”

The partnership between Regent and Pacific Current aims to create an end-to-end transportation-as-a-service offering that will move Hawaii closer to its sustainability goals while simultaneously improving transportation access and affordability for the residents. Local operators providing cargo, passenger, and emergency services to transition to a new, sustainable form of transportation without having to spend large amounts of capital to get a new service up and running.

Local operators will have access to vehicle leasing and financing solutions from Pacific Current as well as dock and charging infrastructure that will map to important inter and intra island commercial routes. Regent and Pacific Current have already begun engaging key community, environmental, private, and public sector stakeholders across the state to make this vision a reality in a way that prioritises and respects Hawaii’s culture and unique environment.

Read more: smartcitiesworld.net