EasyJet, Europe's leading airline, plans to build an all-electric commercial passenger airplane within 10 years. The airline will collaborate with U.S. company Wright Electric to achieve this ambitious goal.
EasyJet and Wright Electric are conceptualizing an airplane that could accommodate about 120 to 220 passengers with a range of 335 miles. It is designed to run without jet fuel and could save about 15 percent fuel burn and carbon emissions. It will also reduce noise by about 50 percent from take-off and landing. This airplane will take passengers across easyJet's UK and the European network within the next decade.
So, could this electric airplane technology be capable and efficient? Electric propulsion technology could significantly decrease the aircraft noise. On the other hand, it will not travel at higher speeds and for a longer distance.
Experts said that a traditional airplane could travel thousands of miles before refueling. Its fuel is way greater than the energy density of batteries. With this, electric airplanes could only travel a minimum distance.
But, NASA scientist Sean Clarke said that there will be a probable improvement in electric airplane technology. He told Ars Technica that electric propulsion systems may be relevant in the marketplace sooner than expected. This is because they could be much more efficient.
Clarke further said that the battery performance is improving, and there are also ways to improve the performance of electric motors. In fact, Zunum Aero company, based in Seattle, is building an electric airplane that could be run by battery power with a conventional generator. The company may launch its first airplane in the early 2020s. It will have a range of 700 miles, which is enough to travel short-haul routes in the United States and other parts of the world.