Discount British airline company Easyjet appears to be one step closer to launching electric aircraft routes to Europe, having submitted a new patent for a groundbreaking electric motor last week.
As part of a progressive mission to reduce its impact upon climate change as well as noise, easyJet has partnered with Los Angeles-based startup Wright Electric to develop the electric motor which it intends to use on short haul routes.
The nine-seater electric airplane, being developed by aircraft designer Darold Cummings under the partnership, would first take flight on Europe’s second busiest “flyway” – as easyJet calls it – from London to Amsterdam and back in 2019.
Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet said in a statement that with the electric aircraft the airline company can achieve a significant reduction in both noise and carbon emissions.
“We know it is important to our customers that we operate sustainably and with the introduction of A320neos, we can already provide a 15% reduction in carbon emissions and 50% less noise footprint, putting us amongst the best-ranking airlines in Europe.
“Looking forward, the technological advancements in electric flying are truly exciting and it is moving fast. From the two seater aircraft, which is already flying, to the nine seater which will fly next year, electric flying is becoming a reality and we can now foresee a future that is not exclusively dependent on jet fuel,” he said.
Wright Electric (naturally, named after the famous aviation pioneers the Wright brothers) is a relative newcomer to the aviation industry having been founded in 2016, but has been making big plans with easyJet as far back as 2017.
EasyJet announced in September 2017 its intention to develop a 120 to 180-seater electric airliner in collaboration with Wright Electric to be launched by 2027, first making a two-seater proof of concept aircraft with 272kg of batteries (no mention of kWh unfortunately) to deliver 540km of flight.
In theory, Wright Electric says that the two-seater would be good enough to service 20 per cent of easyJet’s routes – although the ability to transport only two people at a time is pretty limiting, it must be said.
But with the nine-seater project, it would seem that Israeli aviation company Eviation, who we wrote about just last week, has a contender for the first to transform short haul air transport – although with not quite the same range as Eviation’s Alice 1,000km range aircraft.
“The target range of the electric plane is around 500 kilometres which, within our current route portfolio, would mean a route like Amsterdam to London could become the first electric ‘flyway’,” said Lundgren.
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.