Regent – Electric coastal travel
I would think this is pre-launch sales. It's probably hedged with "subject to certification" risk, but it's still pretty solid, and if it came with sufficient deposit fundings to bootstrap the assembly line, all to the good. But, my understanding is that both boats and aircraft (and this is a join over the two) incur pretty high compliance costs for insurance and regulatory certification. Its a long slow process, it is not as simple as "do it in the USA and it's done" by any stretch.
(their FAQ says: "REGENT’s seagliders are regulated as maritime vessels, not airplanes.")
Many transport manufacturing startups come unstuck with actually making product. Real-world consequences to advanced materials, the massive cost-suck of making the goods repeatably buildable without a huge tail-cost of remediation, digging out from development cost, it's a nightmare.
I'd love this to work, Having flown as a passenger on small aircraft island hoppers in New Caledonia to get to Isle des Pins and like places in other countries, There definitely is a niche for "get from A to B, with sea between" which this suits.
It's also possible there's a set of marine/air conditions this is better than aircraft for: it stays below 100m would make it much easier to "fly" in some conditions. Equally, if its really only coastal/lake waters and not when its more than 2m swell (arbitrary figure for example purposes) then its launch conditions could be highly variable.
Could this to Vancouver to the Island? The Island to The Olympic peninsula? Seattle into the sound? Could it make the Catalinas from California coastline? Or Baja Cali to the "mainland" of Mexico?
High speed rail in California would also be great, but they've been working on it for 15 years already, and at this rate, it doesn't look like the project will finish in the next 50 years.
this will be the same crap. novelty everyone will pay extra, to then get annoyed it was cancelled because of little tiny waves they day.
Apparently it did have range enough for, say, between LA and SF, non-stop.
It's insane to me that the vast majority of inter-island travel in Hawaii (an archipelago where generally each island is visible from the next) is via jet aircraft. You have to spend hours (especially if you're checking bags) getting to the airport early, going through security, waiting at the gate, taxiing, etc ... for a 20 minute flight.
There used to be a ferry between Oahu and Maui but it got killed due to real and perceived environmental impact: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii_Superferry
A light electric ferry service like this, directly between say, Ala Wai and Lahaina harbors, skipping airport/TSA nonsense, could be a very successful premium product. I just hope from there it could be scaled up so that it wouldn't remain just a niche offering for the rich.
Then check out this Livejournal post where someone snuck into a dry dock and took photos of a rusty old one... including photos taken inside!
Seattle has a pretty extensive ferry system that they are in the process of electrifying . It's great for what ferries are, but I would love more options between islands. Some of the less popular options are limited seasonally, I imagine this is a matter of economics.
Also I can tell you that the ferries to / from Victoria Island fill up fast and require reserving slots in advance if you have a car. It's also a 3-ish hour ride that can be very unpleasant if you hit bad weather. I've often driven the long way around rather than do that trip.
What's the real benefit? Actual ground effect is strong but very, very limited - to about the width of the wing. The (wallowing) demo flight is well above ground effect. Also, the demo's downswept wingtips provide a lot of the "ground effect" benefit.
Most importantly, all of this could be done more cheaply and reliably with internal combustion engines. Why hasn't it already been done, if the demand is so strong?
Sorry, but the technical and legal loopholes seem way too small to thread.