e-Aircraft get wings
Low-cast airline EasyJet is partnering with US start-up Wright Electric to develop a commercial electric plane within the next 10 years. Wright Electric only launched last year but is confident that it can o develop an aircraft with a range of 335 miles, and so be able to cover 20% EasyJet’s current traffic.
“Just as we have seen with the automotive industry, the aviation industry will be looking to electric technology to reduce our impact on the environment,” saysCEO Carolyn McCall. “For the first time, we can envisage a future without jet fuel. … It is now more a matter of when, not if, a short-haul electric plane will fly.”
Wright Electric says the e-aircraft will feature a distributed electric propulsion system, high-aspect-ratio wings for energy efficient flights and swappable battery packs with advanced cell chemistry.
Also in the US, transport outfit Zunum Aero is busy developing regional hybrid-electric aircraft for deployment as soon as the early 2020s, having identified opportunity in the underutilised capacity of local airports in the market. The aircraft will be designed for simple walk-on, walk-off travel from airports to fill regional transport gaps, the company says.
Image: Wright Electric