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Norway to Launch a Game-Changing Electric Seaplane for Luxury Travel

What kind of vehicle could replace helicopters, cars, and boats simultaneously? In areas where geography enables it, seaplanes could transform transportation as long as they operate with zero emissions. When it comes to clean energy, Norway is already a trailblazer, working on a revolutionary flying boat.
Elfly plans to operate a network of seaplanes in Norway 7 photos
Sintef Research TankSintef Research TankElfly SeaplaneElfly SeaplaneElfly SeaplaneElfly Seaplane
Conventional seaplanes aren’t the most popular option because internal combustion engines deteriorate quickly in a maritime environment, which raises maintenance costs. An electric alternative would not only be more efficient but also much better for the environment. A startup based in Bergen, Norway, is developing a flying boat powered by an electric motor.

The Elfly project, that’s also co-funded by the Research Council of Norway, has now entered an advanced testing phase in collaboration with Sintef. The future seaplane’s hull is undergoing tests in Sintef’s Ship Model Tank in Trondheim. The hull is towed at different angles in the 260-meter-long (853 feet) tank, SINTEF research scientist Kourosh Koushan explains.

The goal is to come up with the optimal shape, considering the challenge associated with any seaplane propulsion system, which has to push the hull down in the water at first and then lift it gradually.

Elfly’s future seaplane is designed to carry up to nine passengers with zero emissions and no noise. It will be able to cover 200 km (124 miles) at 250 kph (155 mph). As a result, a trip that takes four to five hours by car will be completed in less than an hour. According to the manufacturer, the range will increase as battery performance continues to evolve. Plus, the future seaplane will be able to recharge anywhere, using the same plug like the ones used by European EVs.

This flying boat is also meant to be highly flexible, going from regular passenger transportation to ambulance operations, cargo transportation, and even luxury sightseeing tours.

Efly’s electric seaplane is still under development, but the startup has big plans, hoping to have 20 aircraft in operation by the end of the decade.



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