Okay, the headline was a bit of a reach – if you fly tomorrow, in two months or in a year, chances are quite high that your flight won’t be powered by an electric engine. But on the other hand, you have to consider the fact that electric flight is the future, no matter how you look at it. The industry is slowly, but surely putting its focus towards developing an electric aircraft, capable of flying you to your destination. A perfect example of that is easyJet and its partnership with Wright Electric to develop an electric aircraft. It showcases that not only the manufacturers are seeking to make electric flight a reality, but airlines are also looking into it. So we ask ourselves the question why? Well, without any more delays, here are the top 5 reasons your next flight will be electric:
And at the party, you will find every member of the transport sector – cars, trucks, ships and trains. Not only the theme, but the trend is electric. The fact of the matter is, every mode of transport is going towards electricity. More and more countries are banning gasoline cars to be sold on a certain date. Cities are putting taxes up if gasoline cars want to enter the city center. Tesla is becoming one of the biggest car manufacturers out there, with the Model 3 consistently outselling its main rivals in the United States. And well, Tesla has been involved in aviation a bit. Namely, taxiing an aircraft.
Shipping is changing too – logistics companies are pledging to decrease their pollution. Scandinavian countries have already started using all-electric ferries to transfer passengers and cars on short distances. Cargo shipping is changing as well, with the biggest cargo companies around the world promising not only to reduce their CO2 emissions but completely eliminate them. And well, electric trains have been around for a very long time transporting passengers between their destinations.
While battery technology is not something new to this world, using it in commercial transport is. Every mode of transport is slowly shifting towards to electric, as the cost of batteries is decreasing and the technology keeps gaining momentum in the mainstream areas. Cars are a perfect example of that – electric vehicles keep increasing their market share in the world, with Norway leading the way here. We already have a few working aircraft that are powered by electricity. For instance, the Pipistrel Alpha Electro is already certified in the US and has already seen a fair share of flights done with it. Thus, as battery technology is getting more advanced and cheaper, we will definitely see more and more of electric aircraft in the air.
As electrical engines require much less moving mechanical parts, the maintenance costs are reduced significantly. Instead of using fuel, aircraft will be recharged with electricity – which is much cheaper than aircraft fuel. The effects of rising aviation fuel prices can be seen right now – with a lot of airlines going bankrupt or having financial woes because of it. With this in mind, airlines are looking to reduce their costs as much as they can and eliminate the biggest expense – fuel. Matter of the fact is, airlines are very interested in the capabilities and possibilities of electric flight to reduce their costs all around.
And not only startups such as Wright Electric or Zunum Aero are racing towards building the first commercially viable electric aircraft. The industry giants Airbus and Boeing are looking either to invest or develop their own electric planes. Boeing, partnered with JetBlue is already invested heavily into the previously mentioned Zunum Aero. The company promises to build a 6 to 12 passenger private jet, capable of traveling 1.127 kilometers (or 700 miles). Zunum Aero aims to deliver the first ZA10 in 2022. JetBlue, a private jet corporation has already ordered 100 ZA10 aircraft. ZA10 Electric Aircraft On the other side of the ring, Airbus is ready to pack a punch as well. Despite canceling their first all-electric aircraft, the Airbus E-Fan in 2017, the company is not giving up. The E-Fan managed to cross the English Channel in 2015 and proved to be an initial success. But the E-Fan is a small, two or four-seat aircraft and Airbus ultimately decided not to start full-scale production. Airbus canceled the E-Fan in order to focus on a proper all-electric regional jet, called the Airbus E-fan X. Partnered with Rolls-Royce and Siemens, Airbus plans the aircraft to begin electric flight testing in 2020 with first public flights a year later. Airbus E-Fan X But the fact is that Airbus and Boeing are not alone. Startups such as Eviation Alice, Wright Electric, Ampaire and Joby Aviation are also looking into developing their own electric aircraft. In the hope that the industry switches to electricity as soon as possible, we wish them the best of luck.
The last and the most important reason why your next flight is going to be electric – our own planet earth. With climate change in full-swing and all the drawbacks that come with it, scientists are alarming every single one of us that we have to change. And soon - as it might be too late to reverse the damage that already has been done. Hence investing in technology that is going to reduce pollution and the reliance on fossil fuel is essential. I mean, who wants to move to Mars? At least of what we heard, it's quite cold out there! Moreover, there is no place like Earth! Given these points, I think it‘s quite clear that change is certain for the future. Changing our consumption habits and shifting towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions is the responsibility for every single one of us. Saving our planet right now is essential as to us, as to future generations as well. That is why electric flight cannot come any sooner. And if it is as much fun as it is when being in an electric car, we are even more excited!