EasyJet is working with an engineering startup Wright Electric, to develop a fully electric planes, something different from the conventional engines.
The British airline expects to conclude this plan within the decade, it said on Wednesday.
The US-based engineering startup which was Founded last year by a team of engineers and battery chemists, is setting its sights on designing an aircraft that can fly 335 miles. That would cover 20 percent of the passengers easyJet flies today, the airline said in a statement. Since demonstrating that the technology works in a two-seater plane, Wright has worked with easyJet this year to scale up to commercial proportions.
As we have seen in recent times how the automotive industry has tried to develop cars with less effect on the environment, Easyjet said it looks to come up with such an idea. “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,” EasyJet Chief Executive Officer Carolyn McCall said in the statement.
“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.”
Battery-powered planes offer a way to reduce fuel costs, typically among the biggest expense for airlines and proportionally more so for short-distance carriers like EasyJet. Being first to market with an electric aircraft potentially gives the Luton, England-based carrier a leg up against rivals such as Ireland’s Ryanair Holdings Plc in an ultra-competitive market.
Wright Electric explained that the new batteries it is hoping to invent would power the propellers or fans of aeroplane engines. Easyjet’s insights have been “invaluable,” Wright Electric CEO Jeffrey Engler said in the statement. His company has received financial backing from Massachusetts, Harvard University and technology incubator Y Combinator, which has played a role in the growth of companies including AirBnB and Dropbox.