London to Paris by electric plane
New start-up company Wright Electric has announced plans for an electric-powered commercial flight operating between London and Paris that it expects to be up and running within a decade.
The aircraft would carry 150 people on journeys of less than 300 miles and although it hasn't even gone into development yet, low-cost airline Easyjet has expressed interest.
A spokesperson for the airline told the BBC: “Easyjet has had discussions with Wright Electric and is actively providing an airline operator’s perspective on the development of this exciting technology.”
The developers say that taking away the need for jet fuel and replacing it with electrically powered engines would mean the price of air travel could see dramatic reductions.
Wright Electric is banking on battery technology improving so that their aircraft could store enough power to give it the ability to travel over ranges of hundreds of miles. The company is working in tandem with American inventor Chip Yates whose Long-ESA electric aircraft currently holds the world record for being the fastest of its kind.
Modular battery packs
Jeff Engler, Wright Electric's co-founder, explained some of the innovations behind his company's concept: “The way we've designed our plane is to have modular battery packs for quick swap using the same cargo container that's in a regular airplane.”
The batteries would be charged separately so that aircraft would not need to spend as much time as they do at present sitting on the tarmac being refuelled.
“We want it to be as fast as possible, so airlines can keep their planes in the air as long as possible and cover their costs,” Engler said.
Electric airplanes could also be substantially less loud than a traditional fuel plane, meaning night time flights and other factors that currently restrict airport operations could be revolutionised.
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Date Created: 23 March 2017