The skies are gonna be electric! Air Canada announced Thursday that it’s buying 30 electric planes that can go 124 miles on a single charge, as reported by Business Insider. The ES-30 aircraft, made by Heart Aerospace of Sweden, can actually double that flight distance with reserve hybrid architecture. And it can even double that distance again, to 497 miles, if there are only 25 passengers rather than the 30 that the aircraft is built to hold. Time to start rerouting those extra five passengers?
Well, not until 2028, when the first passengers will be able to start flying. There will be zero emissions from these battery-powered planes – and Air Canada intends to be completely emission-free by 2050. Air Canada also acquired a $5 million equity stake in Heart Aerospace, according to the press release.
So what’ll it look like on these planes? Three passengers will sit abreast, and there’ll be a galley and lavatory. The ride will be quieter than a typical turbo-prop aircraft, as it will be powered by lithium-ion batteries – and it'll be more reliable. In case of trouble, there are reserve-hybrid generators that can take over, using sustainable aviation fuel. The aircraft will only take 30-50 minutes to fully charge. The design, reminiscent of a space shuttle with a chunkier frame, incorporates four propellers that operate above the plane’s body. It looks cool and requires minimal ground service infrastructure – guess we won’t be seeing huge electrical sockets in the wall?
All major US airlines have already invested in electrical technology for the future, with one exception: Delta, according to Business Insider, which seems to be waiting to see how things shake out first. But we say it's time to get on board!