The sky may be the actual limit when it comes to what types of transportation we can electrify. We know electrification is a great fit for passenger vehicles. But trucking and aviation are iffy for battery electric transport, as the weight of the battery doesn’t work so well for powering long-distance trips.
But short-haul trips may be another matter. A company in the United Kingdom wants to electrify short plane trips from places like London to Paris and Amsterdam, per the Guardian:
Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s chief executive, said the aerospace industry would follow the lead of the automotive industry in developing electric engines that would cut emissions and noise.
“For the first time in my career I can envisage a future without jet fuel and we are excited to be part of it,” she said. “It is now more a matter of when, not if, a short-haul electric plane will fly.”
The airline said it was the next step in making the airline less harmful for the environment, after cutting carbon emissions per passenger kilometre by 31% between 2000 and 2016.
Wright Electric claims that electric planes will be 50% quieter and 10% cheaper for airlines to buy and operate, with the cost saving potentially passed on to passengers.
It’s pretty amazing to imagine the reduction in noise and air pollution from electric airplanes. Like trucking, other fuels will be needed for long trips (ideally low-carbon biofuels). But short-haul electric flights may be an idea ready to take off soon.