Electric flying ready for take off
EasyJet is working with US startup Wright Electric to build an electric airplane that can carry passengers on the short hops its business model is based on. “Electric flying is becoming a reality and we can now foresee a future that is not exclusively dependent on jet fuel,” easyJet CEO tells Quartz.The two companies intend to begin testing a 9-passenger electric airplane in 2019.
Easyjet will test electric 9-seater in 2019
EasyJet executive Peter Duffy told The Guardian last year that working with Wright Electric will help both companies understand what is required to make an electric airplane suitable for commercial use by focusing on such things as maintenance and revenue management. “You’re seeing cities and countries starting to talk about banning diesel combustion engines. That would have been unthinkable just a short time ago,” Duffy said. “As technology moves on, attitudes shift, ambitions change, and you see opportunities you didn’t see. This is genuinely exciting.”
Amsterdam maiden destination for commercial e-flight
Wright Electric has a goal of producing an electric airplane that can carry up to 150 passengers on flights of less than 300 miles within 10 years. Short haul routes are the backbone of the airline industry, especially in Europe and the UK. Both the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737 are designed specifically to service such routes. Last year Airbus and Boeing sold about 1000 of these planes for about EUR 80mio each. Because of the short distance and popularity, the London-Amsterdam route is highly likely to be the first to experience the first commercial e-flight with more than 50 passengers in the future.
Wright Electric claims an electric airplane will be 50% quieter and cost 10% less for airlines to purchase and operate. The key to its plan is to mount the batteries for the planes inside conventional aircraft shipping containers so they can be easily swapped out and replaced with fully charged units as needed.
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