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Surf Air Mobility orders up to 150 Cessna Grand Caravans for fitting with series-hybrid powertrains

Surf Air Mobility Inc., has signed a purchase agreement with Textron Aviation for up to 150 Cessna Grand Caravan EX single-engine turboprop aircraft, with an initial fleet order of 100 aircraft and an option for 50 more. The Cessna Grand Caravan EX is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron company.

The order, which is subject to Surf Air Mobility obtaining financing, is part of an exclusive relationship between the two companies supporting Surf Air Mobility’s development of electrified Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, beginning with a series-hybrid electric Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft powered by Surf Air Mobility’s proprietary powertrain technology.

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Hybrid electric Grand Caravan


Planned benefits of the new series-hybrid architecture include:

  • Reduce direct operating costs by approximately 25% and carbon emissions by approximately 25%.

  • Provide similar performance as the current turbine engine Cessna Grand Caravan EX when operated in the same ways across cargo, passenger and special mission applications.

  • With no charging stations expected to be required, the aircraft should be immediately operable at more than 5,000 public use airports across the US.

  • Reduce the environmental impact of flying and pave the way for future generations of even more sustainable aircraft.

  • Enhance the ability for a new point-to-point route network that makes direct flights more affordable and accessible for more people in more places.

New and existing Cessna Grand Caravan EX owners and operators are expected to have the ability to upgrade to the hybrid powertrain, converting them into hybrid electric aircraft.

Surf Air Mobility’s hybrid electric system for the Cessna Grand Caravan is anticipated to be available as early as 2024, and is intended to expand Surf Air Mobility’s regional flight network, connecting more airports with short haul direct service across the U.S.

Textron Aviation’s initial deliveries of the Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft to Surf Air Mobility are expected to begin in Q2 2022. Surf Air anticipates that its hybrid electric system for the Grand Caravan, upon certification, will power a 9-seat variant of the iconic single-engine turboprop.

The hybrid electric Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft is anticipated to be utilized by Surf Air Mobility across its own network, connecting more airports with short-haul direct service across the US on a path to creating a regional mass transport platform to sustainably connect communities.

The Cessna Grand Caravan EX is one of the most adaptable and prolific aircraft in flight today. Through this exclusive relationship with Textron Aviation, we’re able to make electrified aircraft broadly available to existing and new operators, and bring the benefits of lower cost, lower emission air travel to customers faster and at scale. We believe electrifying the Cessna Grand Caravan is the most significant step that can be made toward reduced emission flying> with the quickest path to market.

—Sudhin Shahani, Co-founder, CEO & Executive Chairman, Surf Air Mobility

The transactions between Textron Aviation and Surf Air Mobility are subject to certain closing conditions, including the receipt of financing by Surf Air Mobility.

In February, Surf Air Mobility entered into a definitive agreement to acquire hybrid electric aviation technology pioneer Ampaire. Ampaire is developing hybrid electric powertrains for existing popular aircraft, aimed at upgrading a first generation fleet of vehicles focused on 9- to 19-seat piston and turboprop aircraft.

Comments

Engineer-Poet

Interesting.  Gas turbines are particularly inefficient at low power settings, so this may be a game-changer.

Of course, it's not going to change things as much as the Celera 500L.

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