easyJet’s partner, the electric aircraft pioneer Wright Electric, is working towards zero-emission short flights within 20 years. But a fully electric commercial plane could be possible within a decade.
easyJet and the U.S.-based Wright Electrics have been working over the course of 2017 to develop a battery-propelled passenger aircraft.
The two have now unveiled their electric aviation plans with the news that Wright Electrics could have an all-electric commercial passenger jet capable of flying passengers around the UK and Europe within a decade.
easyJet’s aim is to have every short flight zero-emissions within 20 years, and it is working with Wright Electrics to build an aircraft with a range of 540 kilometres, which would cover 20 per cent of passengers flown by easyJet today.
“We share an ambition with Wright Electric for a more sustainable aviation industry. Just as we have seen with the automotive industry, the aviation industry will be looking to electric technology to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet.
“For the first time we can envisage a future without jet fuel and we are excited to be part of it. It is now more a matter of when not if a short haul electric plane will fly,” she added.
The Wright Electric aircraft is specifically designed for short haul flights, which suits easyJet’s route network with its flights averaging less than two hours. As a fully electric plane, it would cut both emissions and noise.
Since 2000, easyJet has reduced its emissions by over 31 per cent per passenger kilometre in 2016. The discount, no-frills airline has a carbon emissions target of 72 grams by 2022, which would be a 10 per cent reduction from today’s performance and a 38 per cent improvement from 2000.
Image credit: easyJet