These three companies seem to be well-positioned to bring electric airborne transportation to the masses
The technology to conceive an economically profitable plane and the financial strenght to produce it are there.
Zunum Aero, the hybrid solution
Zunum Aero is based in Washington state, USA. Flying requires a lot of energy. Batteries are heavy and expensive. Read charging them during the flight with a gas turbine generator would dramatically increase their range, without involving the high cost of the fuel consumption of standard jets. Indeed, the loan claims a cost per mile per seat four times inferior to that of the standard airline jet.
An American airplane with a French gas turbine
Zunum Aero is developing small electric planes that carry 10 to 50 passengers and could fly 700 miles. Zunum just declared that they found a suitable engine to generate electricity for their batteries of their hybrid planes. The gas turbine is a modified version of the Ardiden 3Z engine made by Safran Helicopter Engines, here coupled to a generator that will deliver 500 kilowatts of electric power—enough to propel Zunum hybrid electric aircraft.
Zunum is all the more interesting, and capable of achieving its goals, since it’s financed by Boeing.
Eviation’s Alice, a sleek aircraft with high density batteries
Israeli’ startup Eviation Alice electric plane bet on high density batteries to fly its nine-passenger all-electric regional passenger aircraft, or private jet, as fair as far as a thousand kilometers (650 miles). This technological masterpiece should entering service by 2021. It will take 9 passengers up to at a cruise speed of 240 knots, or 444 km/h.
Alice features distributed propulsion with one main pusher propeller at the tail and two pusher propellers at the wingtips to reduce drag, create redundancy, and improve efficiency.
Alice will cost at least four times less per passenger-mile and it can also operate as a drone to transport cargo or to reposition the plane for its next scheduled flight.
Easyjet, European leader of low cost flights, partners with Wright Electric
A very promising project
in 2019, EasyJet will fly their prototype of commercial electric aircraft, conceived with its American partner Wright Electric. This prototype will be able to carry only nine passengers, but bigger versions with 50 and hundred and 80 places are scheduled and are commercial service in 2030. EasyJet aims at deploying its electric planes on short range flights, not longer than 500 km, like London Amsterdam.