Clean Disruption News: EasyJet Plans to Roll Out All-Electric Commercial Airplanes
It’s exceedingly likely that years from now, future generations will look back on the 20th and early 21st century in shock for the widespread usage of several gas-guzzling staples of society.
The two biggest, of course, are cars and airplanes. Over the past decade, however, all-electric vehicles have made a real impact in the automobile industry. Thanks in large part to companies such as Tesla, the trend for next-generation car models are increasingly either all-electric or a hybrid of gas and electric engines. The airline industry, however, has been a bit slower to catch on to the trend. While the industry has made improvements in the usage of some new body parts (to bring down wind resistance, for example, and thus fuel consumption), airplanes are still a major greenhouse gas emitter, with no end in sight. Until now, perhaps.
The low-cost British airliner EasyJet recently announced that it is working with a U.S. engineering startup to develop a fully electric commercial plane within a decade. Wright Electric, which is the small company EasyJet is planning to work with toward this ambitious goal, was found in 2016 by a team of engineers and battery chemists. In that short amount of time, the group at Wright Electric has targeted a goal of designing a commercial aircraft that can fly 335 miles on an electric battery (for scale, the distance between London and Paris is about 213 miles in the air). While that might not seem like too short of a range for a major airliner, it’s important to note that roughly 20 percent of travelers using EasyJet fly a distance of 335 miles or fewer for any given single trip.
Wright Electric has been successful in implementing the technology in smaller, two-seater airplanes. Now, using its experience, and the partnership with a major airlines such as EasyJet, the company plans to make a real disruption in the commercial airline industry. And many investors are recognizing this fact. Indeed, Wright Electric has received financial backing from Harvard University and technology incubator Y Combinator (a firm responsible for the initial financing and growth of such companies as Airbnb and Dropbox).
“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,” EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall said in the statement. “For the first time, 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.”
SOURCE: Architectural Digest
VIDEO Courtesy: Mediatime Network