Norway, the world leader in electric vehicle adoption, is now looking to make Norwegian skies as green as their roads.
The tiny electric plane made by Slovenian company Pipistrel was tested this Monday at Oslo airport with Transport Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen and head of state-run Avinor Dag Falk-Petersen on board.
The environmental impact of standard aviation fuel is high, accounting to around 2.1% of global CO2 emissions according to figures from the EU Parliament.
The same report suggests that by 2050, emissions from air traffic is expected to be up to 10 times higher than 60 years before.
Solvik-Olsen says the flight by Pipistrel’s Alpha Electro G2 is a move in the right direction by the Scandinavian country.
“This is … a first example that we are moving fast forward toward greener aviation”, he told Reuters.
The plane, which seats two people and has a take off weight of 570km, could be ideal for the country of 5 million people characterized by fjords, remote islands and mountains.
With a price tag less than that of a Tesla Model S, the company says the cost of flying it is a tenth of its gasoline equivalent.
In a country where nearly 40% of cars on the road are electric, one could wonder about the uptake of small electric planes as a personal mode of transport.
However, the test was not aimed at becoming a personal transport solution, but rather a step towards sustainable public aviation to meet the Paris Climate agreement.
Falk-Petersen, who piloted the plane, told Reuters that in regards to when electric passenger flights would be commonly available, “My best guess is before 2025 … It should all be electrified by 2040.”
For that to become reality, a lot of work still needs to be done in terms of battery weight and range – as well as consumer trust.
“We do have to make sure it is safe – people won’t fly if they don’t trust it,” says Solvik-Olsen.
Planemaker Pipistrel joins other aerospace developers with their Alpha Electro G2, such as NASA who recently announced that their all-electric X-57 could make its first flight as soon as 2019.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.