Equator has developed a lightweight, fully electric amphibious seaplane for air taxi and other transportation services.
Since the early 1900s, seaplanes have been used for transportation to areas that may be otherwise inaccessible. Today’s amphibious seaplanes – which can land on water as well as land – are used as air taxis and for scenic tours, and for critical tasks such as firefighting.
Although useful, seaplanes run on fossil fuels, generating CO₂ emissions. They are also unnecessarily bulky, inefficient, noisy, prone to corrosion from salt water, and costly to operate.
Equator has replaced the outdated, fuel-burning combustion engine used in present-day seaplanes with an innovative electric drivetrain. The Equator seaplane is aerodynamically designed and balanced to optimise safety, speed and energy efficiency. It is constructed from carbon fibre composites, which are stronger than steel and eliminate damage from rust and corrosion.
The Equator seaplane can achieve speeds of up to 220 km per hour, with up to a 400 km range. The drivetrain runs quietly, thus reducing noise pollution.
Amphibious seaplanes provide useful transportation and valuable services to areas with limited infrastructure. Moreover, seaplanes do not require runways, thereby reducing the negative environmental impacts and noise pollution associated with airports.
The Equator electric seaplane will make air taxi transport greener and more affordable. It is 65 per cent less costly to operate than traditional seaplanes, uses 75 per cent less energy and reduces noise pollution by 70 per cent – while completely eliminating CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels.
Electrification of aviation is high on the political agenda in Norway and many other countries. A 2018 feasibility study by Green Future estimated that within 10 to 15 years, battery technology will offer sufficient capacity for fully electric aircraft to accommodate approximately one-hour flights or more than 500 km. The study found that electric planes will be ideal for short-field operations and will reduce emissions, energy consumption, noise, and maintenance and operating costs.
The global air taxis market was valued at USD 27.69 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach USD 80.5 billion by 2030. Compact air taxis such as seaplanes are anticipated to relieve airport congestion and cut costs for consumers. Access to remote locations with lack of proper infrastructure, coupled with emerging smart cities, is further projected to increase the growth of the air taxis market over the coming years.
Equator is currently using a technology demonstrator to evaluate IP and company-designed solutions. It expects to have a fully electric, four-seater seaplane ready for the market by 2022.
Fully electric, zero-emission amphibious seaplane
Constructed from lightweight carbon fibre composites
Low operating costs, energy consumption and noise levels