Electric Jet Travel: Sooner than You Think

September 30, 2017

ejet

CNN:

Major European carrier EasyJet announced Wednesday that it is teaming up with U.S. startup Wright Electric to build an all-electric airliner.

The aircraft they have in mind would handle short routes of 335 miles or less — think New York to Boston or London to Paris.

EasyJet, a budget airline that specializes in shorter flights, said the new aircraft would cover 20% of its passenger journeys.

The airline said it has been working closely with Wright Electric this year and it hopes to have an electric commercial aircraft flying in the next decade.

“We can envisage a future without jet fuel and we are excited to be part of it. It is now more a matter of when not if a short haul electric plane will fly,” said EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall.

Wright Electric was founded in 2016 by a team of battery chemists, aerospace engineers and electric vehicle experts from NASA, Boeing (BA) and Cessna.

It received funding from Harvard University and startup incubator Y Combinator, which helped fund Dropbox, Reddit and Airbnb. EasyJet did not reveal the financial terms of its partnership with the startup.

Jeffrey Engler, the chief executive of Wright Electric, said that working with EasyJet is “a powerful validation of our technology approach.”

EasyJet said the startup has already demonstrated its first two-seater plane, showing it can make the technology work on a smaller scale.

Electric planes could be a game changer for airlines, because fuel is one of their biggest costs.

They are also better for the environment.

“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,” McCall said.

 

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8 Responses to “Electric Jet Travel: Sooner than You Think”

  1. wpNSAlito Says:

    In the interim, I see biofuel (with the same problem of injecting CO2 into the upper atmosphere) and expansion of high-speed electric or hybrid-engine rail as the more *evolutionary* (as opposed to *revolutionary*) likely transition.


  2. It would be a shame if humanity had to give up pointless trips. Long live BAU!

  3. MorinMoss Says:

    There’s 2-word Aerosmith song title that comes to mind.
    I doubt we’ll have commercial electric air travel before we have a permanent Martian base.

  4. Jerry Falwel Says:

    Two revolutions have to occur to come up with this plane. A battery which currently does not exist and a power plant which while it exists in solar panels costs twice what fossil fuel costs for every kilowatt produced. Good luck with those things.

  5. mboli Says:

    Really cool! A few years ago I was very skeptical of practical electric airplanes. But now it seems it could be possible. It isn’t just batteries. Magnets are lighter, motors are lighter.
    A side note: I am an old grumpy guy who notices that people are calling a propeller airplane a “jet.” But language changes, intellectually I know it’s OK. Objecting to “electric jet” is as dumb as objecting to “AC current,” which I *don’t* object to.

  6. mboli Says:

    I also notice that the “EasyJet” fantasy picture is missing the propellers, which makes the fantasy airplane look a lot more sleek than it will really look.


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