Surf Air Mobility says it’s acquiring Ampaire and its hybrid electric powertrain technology as a critical component of Surf Air Mobility’s plans “to improve the affordability, accessibility, and environmental footprint of regional aviation travel.” Surf Air Mobility added in a news release that “Ampaire is currently creating hybrid electric powertrains for existing popular aircraft, aimed at upgrading a first-generation fleet of 9- to 19-seat piston and turboprop aircraft. Tens of thousands of aircraft are currently eligible for this type of powertrain upgrade worldwide.”
Ampaire has successfully completed a month-long demonstration program of the first electric-powered flight on a commercial route with its Electric EEL, a hybrid electric Cessna 337 aircraft. “Surf Air Mobility intends to make hybrid electric powertrain upgrades available to fleet owners on and off its consumer platform, as well as license its technology to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for new aircraft types and accelerate the industry’s path to zero emission travel,” said the release.
“By focusing on shorter, regional routes in the near term, hybrid electric aircraft will completely transform the way we think about how we travel,” said Fred Reid, Surf Air Mobility’s president. “By improving the cost structure, we’re able to create a new kind of point-to-point network that opens up previously untenable markets with more direct connections. With half of all U.S. flights 500 miles or less, hybrid electric technology will have an immediate and broad-reaching impact.”
Hybrid electric aircraft, which can lower direct operating costs, are on track to make air travel more affordable and more accessible for a broad range of pilots and destinations. Transitioning to electric aircraft could also reduce fuel costs by up to 90 percent according to the World Economic Forum, as well as lower maintenance expense and noise. Surf Air Mobility and Ampaire intend to drive further advances toward fully electric aircraft, with the goal of significantly reducing direct carbon emissions.