With electric cars rapidly expanding in the automotive market, and electric motors proving magnificent for drones, it’s only a matter of time for airplanes to go electric, right? Wright Electric thinks so, and they are making plans to make it happen.
Introducing the idea of a 150 seat 737-competitor, we love the idea of an electric airplane, we hope Wright Electric can pull this off.
Let’s make a few things clear here, Wright Electric is announcing the business plan here, not the product. They have a few major hurdles to overcome, FAA certification and adequate batteries for starters.
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The proposed airplanes will be good for about 300 miles on a charge. This does not sound like much, but could be enough to handle nearly 30 percent of domestic flights in the U.S. Of course, I do not know the legal requirements for actual range to flight plan registration limits – we do know that planes are frequently diverted, turned back or otherwise made to remain in the air longer than expected, I suspect that cuts available routes to under 125 miles, for now.
The project is worth further scrutiny after reading a blog post from Wright Electric earlier this month. They claim that they will abandon full-electric for a hybrid system if batteries do not dramatically improve in the next decade. Funnily enough, they reference the Chevrolet Volt as inspiration of the hybrid system. A car that is replaced by something much better in the Chevy line-up already, the new Bolt EV. Point is, the better car is the full electric, we wonder if that is not the case in the air.
We applaud Wright Electric, it sounds like they are doing all they can to make their electric airplane a reality. We really do hope to see and take a ride on one of their products in the near future. With EasyJet, a British airline, on board to try out the electric plane, and a team comprised of NASA funded electric airplane engineers, Wright Electric may be our best first hope for electric flight.
Considering the environmental benefits and possible fuel savings, would you opt to ride an electric airplane?