A network of electric gliders for people and cargo being explored in Hawai’i

Mokulele Airlines will be the launch partner for the Sea Glider Transportation Network which plans to bring a fleet of 12-passenger Viceroy Sea Gliders from REGENT to the State of Hawaii. Graphic courtesy: REGENT

REGENT, the company behind the all-electric glider, is partnering with Mokulele Airlines and Pacific Current to explore building a glider transportation network for passengers and cargo in the state of Hawaii.

The goal is to drive innovation to support a more resilient and sustainable transportation ecosystem for the state.

Pacific Current, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries, is the project’s energy and infrastructure partner for Hawai’i. The company will focus on financing vehicles, developing and providing access to renewable energy and electric charging infrastructure.

Mokulele Airlines, a Southern Airways company, will be the launch partner of the Sea Glider Transport Network which plans to bring a fleet of 12-passenger Viceroy Sea Gliders from REGENT to the island chain.

“The REGENT sea glider is a complete game-changer for the state of Hawai’i,” said Stan Little, CEO of Mokulele. “Not only can this vehicle help the state achieve its sustainability and resiliency goals faster, but it will enable our airline to offer new services that are not possible today.”

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Few said Seaglider’s network will provide the ability to provide a fast, convenient and affordable transportation solution, with passengers not having to travel to the airport.

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“Just imagine going from Kona Harbor to downtown Honolulu in less than 55 minutes door to door,” he said. “REGENT’s partnership with Pacific Current allows us to do what we do best, which is to provide local communities across the state with safe and convenient transportation for their leisure, business and medical travel needs.”

Billy Thalheimer, CEO and co-founder of REGENT, said in a press release that his company is committed to helping Hawai’i move toward a sustainable transportation future.

“The very first step is to listen and learn what the community cares about,” Thalheimer said. “The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive and the opportunity to build a glider network for Hawai’i is a dream come true. We are excited to help push the boundaries of clean transportation innovation for the state.”

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Thalheimer said his company recognizes that Hawai’i is a special place, with a sacred culture, sensitive environmental ecosystems and unparalleled biodiversity.

“The feasibility study continues our commitment to work with local communities, civic organizations and all appropriate private and public sector leaders to understand how sea gliders can help improve the daily lives of residents,” he said. he declares. “We are thrilled and humbled to be part of this team accelerating Hawaii’s push toward an emissions-free future.”

REGENT launched its first Community Listening Tour in the summer of 2021. Key members of the REGENT leadership team have spent nearly a full year engaging with public, private and civic sector stakeholders to understand residents’ needs, learn about the unique ecosystems associated with the region, and help state officials think about Hawaii’s sustainability and resiliency goals.

SMS Research, a Honolulu-based market research firm, will examine the economic, environmental and community benefits and challenges associated with introducing sea gliders to Hawai’i.

The study focuses on the economic impact on the state as well as how sea gliders can help improve transportation affordability and accessibility, including assessing the impact of adding new roads and new services to improve access for underserved communities.

The study will also include a detailed analysis of various ports and harbors conducted by EKNA Services, a Honolulu-based engineering and construction management company.

According to REGENT’s press release, local operators providing freight, passenger and emergency services in Hawai’i will be able to easily transition to a new form of sustainable transportation without having to spend large amounts of capital to set up a new one. service. .

Local operators will also have access to Pacific Current’s vehicle leasing and financing solutions, as well as docking and charging infrastructure that will be mapped to major inter- and intra-island trade 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 prioritizes and respects culture and the environment. unique to Hawaii.

“Joining forces with REGENT represents a huge opportunity for Pacific Current and HEI to significantly increase our clean energy and clean transportation impact,” said Scott Valentino, president of Pacific Current. “The initial investment costs associated with a transition of this magnitude are immense and are often a trigger for wider adoption.

“We hope to enable local passenger, cargo and emergency service providers to reduce the price of passenger travel and the costs of moving goods and services across the state.”

Scott Glenn, Hawai’i State’s Director of Energy, said in the press release, “Reducing aviation’s carbon footprint is integral to achieving renewable energy goals. of our state and we appreciate that REGENT is working with communities on this effort.”

Kuhio Lewis, executive director of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, also expressed support for the study and the company’s collaborative efforts with the community.

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