Are Commercial Electric Planes a Possibility?
A few years back, my friend told me, “I see planes running on battery in the next ten years”. I remember looking awestruck at her, in sheer disbelief. Surely, she must have been kidding, I thought. It would take many decades for that to ever happen (if it would even happen in our lifetimes, that is). Sometimes I think about what new inventions we would see in the next 5-10 years. It’s more or less like a mind game, just to see where my imagination takes me. We all know how the science world innovates new technologies all the time, faster than we expect, sometimes. Think, mobile phones 5-8 years ago and now, even the evolution of paper sheet forms to paperless business forms. No matter what it is, the difference is mind blowing. Well, as it turns out, I might just have to eat my words.
Start Up Wright Electric wants to Launch Electric, Eco-Friendly Planes
A start-up company called “Wright Electric” wants to launch electric, eco-friendly planes that run on batteries. After the initial “ridiculous! Proposterous! unbelievable! batteries? ha!” I decided to give it a chance, and I realise that while everything is making an effort to be more eco-friendly, planes haven’t really changed all that much. unlike cars which are becoming electric and appliance that are becoming solar powered, planes still run on fuel just like they did years ago.
Air Travel is a Significant Contributor to Climate Change
Have you ever felt guilty about your carbon footprint when travelling abroad? Ever wondered if your plane flight might be negatively impacting the environment? Well, soon we could be flying in eco-friendly, battery-powered planes. Who saw that coming?It makes such terrible sense that I could now wonder why someone didn’t think about this before. Fuel is not sustainable, neither is paper, eventually just like cars have turned to electricity and business forms have turned to paperless business forms and even electricity has turned to solar energy, planed would have eventually had to find al alternative source of power.
Wright Electric plans to launch a 150-seater plane that is run solely on electricity. They want to build the airliner for short-haul flights like New York to Boston and London to Paris.
The aircraft will be capable of flying 300 miles and the company aims “for every short flight to be electric within 20 years”.
EasyJet Gets Involved in Electric plane Plans
Britain’s biggest budget airline “EasyJet” has teamed up with the start-up company to try and make their vision a reality. However, the design depends on some improvements in battery as current technology would mean the plane would barely take off.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “EasyJet has had discussions with Wright Electric and is actively providing an airline operator’s perspective on the development of this exciting technology.” The company estimate that the plane would need a battery weighing a whopping 25 tons, to be able to make the proposed flight length.
If battery technology doesn’t improve at the expected rate, Wright Electric plan to make an electric motor instead. “If batteries don’t get dramatically better in the next decade, we design our plane as a hybrid with electric motors,” a spokesperson said. “It still has great cost savings as compared to today’s planes, and it doesn’t require massive battery advances.”
If this electric plane goes along as planned, it would be the very first plan to run battery powered! However, the speed of the electric plane would be lower than the average carrier – but at least it’d be way more eco-friendly ad energy efficient.
Amidst all this, the question that has been plaguing my thoughts is, would I really be able to trust a battery powered flight? Hmmm. Only time will tell. I wouldn’t want to fly to conclusions. Every pun intended.
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