Updated May 2022: At the 2022 Shippax Conference, REGENT CEO Billy Thalheimer announced new firm deposits as part of an existing $200M deal with Split Express.
July 2021—Adriatic Fast Ferries Ltd., a Croatian fastferry operator and operator behind Split Express service connecting Split airport and the Split archipelago, has signed a letter of intent to purchase several of REGENT’s all-electric seagliders as a supplement to its existing fast ferry fleet. Planning to enter commercial operations by 2025, Split Express looks forward to being able to offer Split-to-Hvar service in under 20 minutes. By signing this letter of intent, Split Express joins Brittany Ferries as an early adopter of REGENT’s “flying ferry”technology and plans to be the first seaglider operator in Croatia.
Billy Thalheimer, co-founder and CEO of REGENT, states, “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Split Express in the development and operational rollout of our fully electric seagliders. Alan and theSplit Express team have been very helpful to us in ensuring that we are building a vehicle that will support the growth and profitability of the ferry industry while simultaneously supporting its ESG goals. We’re excited to see our seagliders moving passengers over the Adriatic Sea in the not-so-distant future.”
Split Express sees the electric seaglider as a key component in helping the company reach its sustainability goals while also providing an affordable, high-quality, and unique travel experience for its passengers.
Dr. Alan Klanac, CEO of Split Express, adds “Seagliders are the future of passenger ferries. The ferry industry is at the crux of the Green Revolution and an ever-increasing pressure for faster transit from competitive modes. The need for innovation has never been higher. Split Express is excited to be a world leader in zero-emission, high-speed maritime transport as an early operator of REGENT’s seagliders.”
Dr. Klanac, who also serves as an AssistantProfessor of ship structures design at University of Rijeka and was formerly President of Interferry, will also be joining REGENT as a member of their advisory board.
REGENT’s seagliders are scheduled to be available for commercial use in 2025. The vehicles will be built to the high safety standards of modern commercial aircraft while still operating within existing harbor infrastructure and along existing ferry routes. Seagliders begin their journey from a conventional ferry terminal and, once clear of no-wake zones, rise onto their hydrofoils to maneuver through crowded harbors. Upon reaching the open sea, the vehicle takes-off into “ground effect”:an aerodynamic state similar to hovercraft operation where high-pressure air trapped between the wing and the water increases flight efficiency. Once airborne, it can reach speeds of 300 kph– while always staying within 10 meters of the water’s surface – resulting in a fast, safe, and comfortable ride for its passengers. With current battery technology, the first generation seaglider will be able to move 12 passengers a distance of 300 km on a single charge. REGENT is already developing plans to build larger seagliders that will accommodate more passengers and service longer routes with advanced battery technology.