Regent, a US developer of all-electric seagliders, has announced a “strategic investment” from a subsidiary of Japanese shipping firm Mitsui Lines. 

The support comes from MOL Switch, a corporate venture capital firm owned by Mitsui. 

Although the details of the deal weren’t shared, a joint statement explained the aim is to sell Regent’s aircraft in Japan. 

“The investment will support REGENT bringing seagliders to market in Japan and in coastal destinations around the globe,” it said. 

Japan is seen as a fertile market for the emerging zero emission platform, because 80% of its population lives in or near coastal areas. The seaglider is described as a “new category of vehicle that combines the speed of an aircraft with the convenience of a boat.” 

Regent hopes its all-electric seaplane-esque design will be part of the aviation zero-emissions revolution for coastal communities, as an “affordable and efficient” option not unlike eVTOLs in cities. 

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“This strategic partnership marks a significant step forward for seaglider market adoption in Japan. Having MOL as a maritime champion for seaglider technology underlines Regent’s market-leading traction in the country and paves the way to bring our high-speed, all-electric transportation solutions to coastal communities,” said Billy Thalheimer, co-founder and CEO of the seaglider firm. 

MOL Switch’s CEO Tomoaki Ichida said the partnership would form a key part of its ESG portfolio. 

“REGENT’s pioneering technology and commitment to sustainability align with MOL’s core mission to apply innovative technology and services to advance environmental conservation. The partnership reflects our shared commitment to ensuring safe transportation and building a sustainable future,” Ichida explained. 

The Rhode Island developer has already won $90m from investors including Japan Airlines, and Lockheed Martin.