First came propellers. Then jet engines. Now the electric motor begins to redesign aircraft.
This week saw the world's largest aerospace event, the Paris Air Show. The issued electric aircraft were numerically a minor matter. More than $ 15 billion of fossil-fueled aircraft have been sold to meet the world's growing demand for air travel.
However, it was Cape Air's order for the first commercial electric aircraft to attract special attention. Israeli start-up Eviation Aircraft received double-digit orders for a $ 4 million electric aircraft called Alice. The aircraft can fly 1
Stretching 12 meters, the plane carries only nine passengers, but that's fine with Cape Air, a regional state-owned carrier in the state of Massachusetts that performs hundreds of short-flights per day. With its 92 aircraft, it serves about half a million passengers annually, making it one of the largest regional airlines in the United States.
The short hops from Cape Air make it a perfect complement to the electric flight. Batteries still can not store as much energy as liquid fuel, which makes them unsuitable for long-haul flights where they add too much weight. However, with flights under a few hundred kilometers (the distance becomes larger with increasing battery charge), the electric drive is much cheaper: according to electric motor manufacturer MagniX, it alone is ten times cheaper for fuel. With reduced maintenance, faster clearance, and more durable systems, short-haul airliners can save millions of dollars every year.
But large jet aircraft manufacturers are not waiting for the electric revolution. The hybrid technology, which will be used by the electric assistant throughout the flight, will be operational in the next few years. Boeing and JetBlue have invested in Zunum Aero to bring a hybrid vehicle to market this year. Immediately behind is the merged United Technologies-Raytheon, which is launching a hybrid retrofit of its regional turboprop. The market entry of Airbus is planned for 2022. At the same time, the number of electric aircraft under development continues to grow. The consulting firm Roland Berger expects the number to increase from 170 to 200 by the end of the year.
If the economy is not sufficient, the climate crisis is the cause. The aviation industry accounts for 2% to 3% of global emissions, and countries can not meet their climate goals without taking them into account. Sweden and Norway plan to operate all short-haul flights by 2040. Scotland, the Netherlands, California and the United Kingdom have begun to provide financial incentives to reduce aviation emissions. Customers are ahead of them: investment bank UBS reports that 22% of respondents in the US and Germany have already restricted air traffic for environmental reasons. Among the 44-year-old she was over 50%.