EasyJet Is Aiming for a Fleet of Electric Planes by 2030
EasyJet announced this week ambitious plans to operate a fleet of electric planes by 2030.
As of today, no such aircraft exists. However, for the task, the Britain-based budget airline has partnered with start-up electric firm Wright Electric -- the same firm that presented designs for a 150-seat commercial aircraft that operates on electric power at the Tech Crunch Y Combinator Demo Day in March of 2017. The company has since developed a fully-operating two-seater aircraft and applied for a patent on a motor for an electric plane.
EasyJet plans to start small with short-haul flights (think two-hour routes like London Heathrow (LHR) to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)) and plans to test Wright's design for an electric, nine-seater plane -- which is projected to fly in 2019.
"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," said EasyJet's chief executive, Johan Lundgren, from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport (AMS). "The target range of the electric plane is around 500 kilometers, which, within our current route portfolio, would mean a route like Amsterdam to London could become the first electric 'flyway.'"
According to CNN, Wright Electric forecasts that the new electric planes will be up to 50% quieter and 10% cheaper than the aircraft airlines currently operate on a day-to-day basis. A typical commercial aircraft -- let's say a Boeing 747 -- uses approximately one gallon of fuel every second, How Stuff Works calculated in 2014. With ever-increasing fuel prices and general desire to lower costs overall, other airliners have been developing their own takes on electric planes as well. This includes Zunum, backed by Boeing, and Siemens, which has partnered up with Airbus to develop their own electric aircraft motors since 2017. Even Loganair, which operates the 1.7-mile shortest flight in the world, announced its own plans to operate electric aircraft by 2021.