Technology 3 min read

The Era of Electric Airplanes is Here

The Era of Electric Airplanes is Here

We often complain about the batteries in our smartphones because they don’t last long enough and keep getting larger and larger.

The same goes for electric cars with autonomy becoming a key area where automakers put up most of their technological efforts.

Now imagine an electric plane.

For one roundtrip flight from New York to Chicago, a plane releases 296 KG of carbon dioxide per passenger. You can calculate your flight emissions and carbon-offset your air trips.

Battery technology advancements now allow dreaming about being able to fly emission-free in the near future. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even has a concept for an electric plane.

The concept of the electric plane has been, well, in the air for a long time. But now, several startups are working on their electric and hybrid aircraft designs that would help reduce both costs and carbon footprint.

If zero-emission planes are the future of flight, airlines had better prepare themselves.

In Norway at least, one airline is getting ahead of the curve in this area with the help of an American aircraft manufacturer.

Sustainable Wings: eFlyer, Tesla of the Air

OSM Aviation, a low-cost Norwegian aviation and flight training company, announced it has ordered 60 all-electric training planes.

These electric planes will serve at OSM Aviation Academy centers to train the next generation of pilots.

For Espen Høiby, CEO of OSM Aviation Group, this is an opportunity to self-congratulate:

“We’re proud to take the lead in the future of green aviation. This is the largest order for commercial electric planes to date. It’s important that the airline industry steps up to the challenge of developing more environment-friendly transport. At OSM Aviation, we’re committed to pursuing a socially responsible and sustainable business.”

OSM Aviation chose Bye Aerospace aircraft manufacturer based in Englewood, Colorado.

In 2014, Bye Aerospace launched its Sun Flyer program that led to the eFlyer”, a family of zero-emission all-electric planes intended for flight training and air taxi markets.

The company that aims to deliver “the first FAA-certified, practical, all-electric airplanes” already has a significant order book with 298 customer commitments and deposits received.

The first deliveries of the 2-seat eFlyer 2 and the 4-seat eFlyer 4 are scheduled for the end of 2021.

Priced at $350,000, the eFlyer 2 model, the one chosen by OSM, is fitted with an electric propulsion motor from Siemens with a 90kW peak rating (120 HP).

Compared to the $110 per hour for a conventional plane, training pilots on Bye Aerospace’s planes will cost only $20 per hour. That was a big draw for OSM that currently operate 20 planes, mostly Cessna 172s, and which it intends to phase out.

OSM aims to do business in more markets other than Norway, including the United States.

Read More: Tesla’s New Maxwell Acquisition is Great News for Future Electric Planes

Last year, Norway has revealed its plan making short-haul flights 100% electric by 2040 to cut greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change.

But unfortunately, there are no battery-powered airliners available and all technology permits now is small aircraft like the ones built by Bye Aerospace.

EasyJet, the British budget carrier, set 2030 as the target date to fly a fleet of electric planes, pushing it back from 2027 previously.

Although you won’t see any electric airliners flying overhead anytime soon, now is the time when industries are really beginning to consider the power of this zero emissions technology.

Read More: New Thermal Battery Could be an Energy Game Changer

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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    Newyorkacademy September 13 at 10:39 am GMT

    Using best planes to train students, should be a standard practice.

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