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.

36 thoughts on “EasyJet and Wright Electric 180 seat electric airline will start flying around 2027”

  1. I think the “skyport” idea with smaller craft (10-30 seat) flitting intra city like helicopters, is more practical. Adding that many seats for such a short hop would seem problematic and battery tech isn’t there yet. More effective on smaller planes (oddly enough – economies of scale don’t work very well).
    Flying 200 miles between cities from city center to city center seems more attractive than 300 miles from airport to airport. Much more convenient for the passenger if somewhat more expensive.
    Home>Airport>Airport>destination = 300 mi. Or just drive it in 5 hours.

    Reply
  2. What nonsense hype (a year old btw). It’s a powerpoint design that basically says “IF, in 10 years, battery design can be vastly improved, THEN it’s possible to fly a COMMERCIAL plane more economically than using fuel IF fuel based designs don’t improve from today”. I.e., it’s based on hope and prayer, not any reality. It’s like saying, what if you can fly a plane using a super lightweight fusion reactor as a powerplant? The laws of physics are still not in E-aircraft’s favor. Maybe one day. EasyJet is smart here. They are improving their “cool” brand without investing a dime in this scheme. For a low-cost short-haul brand like EasyJet, fuel accounts for about 20-23% of operating costs, engine maintenance about 5%. Not sure how a battery+charging costs can beat this. To make this worthwhile, any manufacturer will need significantly improved battery tech available and plane orders before committing to a project like this. Then, it takes 8-10 years from end-to-end development through certification to deployment. Particularly considering there are no protocols for E-plane certification. Therefore, IF battery tech 10 years from now comes around, then we might see these things in the sky in about 20 years. By then, maybe other forms of travel (e.g., hyperloops) will make this all moot.

    Reply
  3. What nonsense hype (a year old btw). It’s a powerpoint design that basically says IF in 10 years battery design can be vastly improved” THEN it’s possible to fly a COMMERCIAL plane more economically than using fuel IF fuel based designs don’t improve from today””.I.e.”” it’s based on hope and prayer not any reality. It’s like saying”” what if you can fly a plane using a super lightweight fusion reactor as a powerplant? The laws of physics are still not in E-aircraft’s favor. Maybe one day. EasyJet is smart here. They are improving their “”””cool”””” brand without investing a dime in this scheme. For a low-cost short-haul brand like EasyJet”” fuel accounts for about 20-23{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of operating costs engine maintenance about 5{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}. Not sure how a battery+charging costs can beat this.To make this worthwhile any manufacturer will need significantly improved battery tech available and plane orders before committing to a project like this. Then it takes 8-10 years from end-to-end development through certification to deployment. Particularly considering there are no protocols for E-plane certification. Therefore IF battery tech 10 years from now comes around then we might see these things in the sky in about 20 years. By then maybe other forms of travel (e.g.”” hyperloops) will make this all moot.”””

    Reply
  4. and 10{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} lower costs””Only? I doubt that any airlines would bother to get one.”””

    Reply
  5. What nonsense hype (a year old btw). It’s a powerpoint design that basically says “IF, in 10 years, battery design can be vastly improved, THEN it’s possible to fly a COMMERCIAL plane more economically than using fuel IF fuel based designs don’t improve from today”. I.e., it’s based on hope and prayer, not any reality. It’s like saying, what if you can fly a plane using a super lightweight fusion reactor as a powerplant? The laws of physics are still not in E-aircraft’s favor. Maybe one day. EasyJet is smart here. They are improving their “cool” brand without investing a dime in this scheme. For a low-cost short-haul brand like EasyJet, fuel accounts for about 20-23% of operating costs, engine maintenance about 5%. Not sure how a battery+charging costs can beat this. To make this worthwhile, any manufacturer will need significantly improved battery tech available and plane orders before committing to a project like this. Then, it takes 8-10 years from end-to-end development through certification to deployment. Particularly considering there are no protocols for E-plane certification. Therefore, IF battery tech 10 years from now comes around, then we might see these things in the sky in about 20 years. By then, maybe other forms of travel (e.g., hyperloops) will make this all moot.

    Reply
  6. What nonsense hype (a year old btw). It’s a powerpoint design that basically says IF in 10 years battery design can be vastly improved” THEN it’s possible to fly a COMMERCIAL plane more economically than using fuel IF fuel based designs don’t improve from today””.I.e.”” it’s based on hope and prayer not any reality. It’s like saying”” what if you can fly a plane using a super lightweight fusion reactor as a powerplant? The laws of physics are still not in E-aircraft’s favor. Maybe one day. EasyJet is smart here. They are improving their “”””cool”””” brand without investing a dime in this scheme. For a low-cost short-haul brand like EasyJet”” fuel accounts for about 20-23{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of operating costs engine maintenance about 5{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}. Not sure how a battery+charging costs can beat this.To make this worthwhile any manufacturer will need significantly improved battery tech available and plane orders before committing to a project like this. Then it takes 8-10 years from end-to-end development through certification to deployment. Particularly considering there are no protocols for E-plane certification. Therefore IF battery tech 10 years from now comes around then we might see these things in the sky in about 20 years. By then maybe other forms of travel (e.g.”” hyperloops) will make this all moot.”””

    Reply
  7. What nonsense hype (a year old btw). It’s a powerpoint design that basically says “IF, in 10 years, battery design can be vastly improved, THEN it’s possible to fly a COMMERCIAL plane more economically than using fuel IF fuel based designs don’t improve from today”.

    I.e., it’s based on hope and prayer, not any reality. It’s like saying, what if you can fly a plane using a super lightweight fusion reactor as a powerplant?

    The laws of physics are still not in E-aircraft’s favor. Maybe one day. EasyJet is smart here. They are improving their “cool” brand without investing a dime in this scheme.

    For a low-cost short-haul brand like EasyJet, fuel accounts for about 20-23% of operating costs, engine maintenance about 5%. Not sure how a battery+charging costs can beat this.

    To make this worthwhile, any manufacturer will need significantly improved battery tech available and plane orders before committing to a project like this. Then, it takes 8-10 years from end-to-end development through certification to deployment. Particularly considering there are no protocols for E-plane certification. Therefore, IF battery tech 10 years from now comes around, then we might see these things in the sky in about 20 years. By then, maybe other forms of travel (e.g., hyperloops) will make this all moot.

    Reply
  8. and 10{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} lower costs””Only? I doubt that any airlines would bother to get one.”””

    Reply
  9. More per unit mass, but much less per unit volume. And since the volume of your fuel tanks or battery banks is limited, that’s a problem.

    Reply
  10. More per unit mass but much less per unit volume. And since the volume of your fuel tanks or battery banks is limited that’s a problem.

    Reply
  11. More per unit mass, but much less per unit volume. And since the volume of your fuel tanks or battery banks is limited, that’s a problem.

    Reply
  12. More per unit mass but much less per unit volume. And since the volume of your fuel tanks or battery banks is limited that’s a problem.

    Reply
  13. There are several problems with these: The wind can really upset these things. You need still air to fly in that means early morning and near dusk and only on fair weather days. Typically these would not travel much faster than a car. You also need large hangers. And they can’t sit around not in a hanger because the risk of being blown around is very high. You will probably need a ground crew to attach tether lines and such to tie it down. They will not let you use hydrogen, so you have to use helium which is much more expensive, and only half as good because it has double the mass. And is is going to loose helium because it can get through most materials. Aborting a landing is almost impossible. Everything must be set in motion very far ahead, so you can’t adjust for any surprises. But reality has these surprises all the time. There are certainly still good applications for these things…regular commercial passenger transport is just not one of them.

    Reply
  14. There are several problems with these: The wind can really upset these things. You need still air to fly in that means early morning and near dusk and only on fair weather days. Typically these would not travel much faster than a car. You also need large hangers. And they can’t sit around not in a hanger because the risk of being blown around is very high. You will probably need a ground crew to attach tether lines and such to tie it down. They will not let you use hydrogen so you have to use helium which is much more expensive and only half as good because it has double the mass. And is is going to loose helium because it can get through most materials.Aborting a landing is almost impossible. Everything must be set in motion very far ahead so you can’t adjust for any surprises. But reality has these surprises all the time.There are certainly still good applications for these things…regular commercial passenger transport is just not one of them.

    Reply
  15. Hmmmm … what about a hybrid vehicle using lighter than air gas to partially offset vehicle weight? Such a craft would likely take longer for travel times, but the offsetting advantage would be in potentially longer range, and or higher safety margin?

    Reply
  16. Hmmmm … what about a hybrid vehicle using lighter than air gas to partially offset vehicle weight? Such a craft would likely take longer for travel times but the offsetting advantage would be in potentially longer range and or higher safety margin?

    Reply
  17. I would be a little concerned with that range, because you can’t do circles around an airport if for some reason you can’t promptly get clearance to land. Though, if routes are chosen wisely, so that you only fly to cities with 2 close airports that can accommodate the airplane, that should be reasonable precaution. I think you really want 500+ miles range ideally. If Tesla can build a sports car that can go 620 miles, I would think that 500 miles in a large aircraft should be doable. I don’t think you need to go fast, 300mph should be fine. Though, at least in the US, we need to fix the wait times at airports for these short hops to be attractive for riders. We need to double or triple the number of airport security lines. Even a 100 mile trip would be attractive, if you could arrive at the airport 15 minutes before boarding. And less cars on the highway is good.

    Reply
  18. I would be a little concerned with that range because you can’t do circles around an airport if for some reason you can’t promptly get clearance to land. Though if routes are chosen wisely so that you only fly to cities with 2 close airports that can accommodate the airplane that should be reasonable precaution.I think you really want 500+ miles range ideally.If Tesla can build a sports car that can go 620 miles I would think that 500 miles in a large aircraft should be doable. I don’t think you need to go fast 300mph should be fine. Though at least in the US we need to fix the wait times at airports for these short hops to be attractive for riders. We need to double or triple the number of airport security lines. Even a 100 mile trip would be attractive if you could arrive at the airport 15 minutes before boarding. And less cars on the highway is good.

    Reply
  19. There are several problems with these: The wind can really upset these things. You need still air to fly in that means early morning and near dusk and only on fair weather days. Typically these would not travel much faster than a car. You also need large hangers. And they can’t sit around not in a hanger because the risk of being blown around is very high. You will probably need a ground crew to attach tether lines and such to tie it down. They will not let you use hydrogen, so you have to use helium which is much more expensive, and only half as good because it has double the mass. And is is going to loose helium because it can get through most materials.
    Aborting a landing is almost impossible. Everything must be set in motion very far ahead, so you can’t adjust for any surprises. But reality has these surprises all the time.

    There are certainly still good applications for these things…regular commercial passenger transport is just not one of them.

    Reply
  20. Hmmmm … what about a hybrid vehicle using lighter than air gas to partially offset vehicle weight? Such a craft would likely take longer for travel times, but the offsetting advantage would be in potentially longer range, and or higher safety margin?

    Reply
  21. I would be a little concerned with that range, because you can’t do circles around an airport if for some reason you can’t promptly get clearance to land.

    Though, if routes are chosen wisely, so that you only fly to cities with 2 close airports that can accommodate the airplane, that should be reasonable precaution.

    I think you really want 500+ miles range ideally.

    If Tesla can build a sports car that can go 620 miles, I would think that 500 miles in a large aircraft should be doable. I don’t think you need to go fast, 300mph should be fine.

    Though, at least in the US, we need to fix the wait times at airports for these short hops to be attractive for riders. We need to double or triple the number of airport security lines. Even a 100 mile trip would be attractive, if you could arrive at the airport 15 minutes before boarding. And less cars on the highway is good.

    Reply

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