Ampaire recently 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. (Photo: Surf Air, Ampaire)
Surf Air Mobility on Feb. 18 entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ampaire, which develops proprietary hybrid electric powertrain technology, describing the move as a critical component in Surf Air’s plans for advancing regional travel.
“With flight demonstrations and testing already in progress, Ampaire’s hybrid electric powertrain technology brings us closer to the next great shift in air travel: sustainable aviation that’s accessible to everyone,” said Sudhin Shahani, Surf Air Mobility’s co-founder and CEO. “With this advanced technology, we have the opportunity to solve aviation’s biggest problems, operating cost and environmental impact, through electrification.”
Shahani explains the company sees near-term opportunity to transform existing turboprop aircraft across the entire industry as a first step toward fully electric aviation across all trip lengths.
Ampaire is currently creating hybrid electric powertrains for existing popular aircraft, aimed at upgrading a first-generation fleet of vehicles focused on nine- to 19-seat piston and turboprop aircraft. There are tens of thousands of aircraft eligible for this type of powertrain upgrade worldwide, explains Surf Air Mobility, which 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.
“Working with Surf Air Mobility will allow us to follow the successful path of hybrid electric automobiles and take that model to the sky more quickly,” said Kevin Noertker, CEO, Ampaire. “It is our intention to be one of the first to make this technology available at scale on both existing and new commercial routes.”
Ampaire has 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. This is the first aircraft of this type to receive FAA experimental market survey approval, allowing the company to carry passengers other than flight crew.