EasyJet and Wright Electric 180 seat electric airline will start flying around 2027

In 2017, Los Angeles startup Wright Electric partnered with budget airline EasyJet to build a 180-seat electric airliner to fly routes of up to 300 miles starting around 2027.

It will feature high aspect ratio wings for energy efficient flight, distributed electric aircraft propulsion and swappable battery packs with advanced cell chemistry. The 10-person Los Angeles based startup was founded in 2016 and has received venture capital from Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator and others. Jetex, a Dubai fixed-base operator with 30 bases, invested in the company in May 2018.

Wright Electric has built a two-seat proof-of-concept with 272kg (600lb) of batteries. 291 nautical mile (540km) range would be good for 20% of Easyjet routes. There are many short-haul flights in the UK.

Wright Electric plans to develop a 10-seater and eventually an at least 120 passengers single-aisle, short-haul airliner and targets 50% lower noise and 10% lower costs.

To evaluate electric propulsion systems, two test stands were constructed: one with two 250 kW UQM motors and two Hartzell Propellers, built with Yates Electrospace, the other on a 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) trailer to be brought to high altitude test sites.