The rise of electric airplanes
June 6, 2024

A leap towards the sky - the rise of electric flight

When someone mentions EVs, many people envision a car cruising down the highway rather than a jet soaring above the clouds. Yet, the realm of electric powertrain technology is extending far beyond the roads, and up into the skies - where a silent revolution is taking shape. The fact is, electric aircraft are way more advanced than you probably realize, and it might not be too long before we are booking seats on all-electric commercial jets!

Electric aviation's rapid rise

Electric flight is ascending rapidly with remarkable advancements that will herald a major transformation in how we travel the skies. Pioneers like Wright Electric are at the forefront, developing the Wright 1—an all-electric, 186-seat passenger jet with an 800-mile range, in partnership with easyJet. The budget airline is aiming to launch (literally) in 2030. 

Rolls-Royce, famous for its top class jet engines, is also making significant strides in EV flight with its Spirit of Innovation, which reached a record-breaking speed of 387.4 mph during its first test flight in 2021. Working alongside aviation giants like Airbus, Rolls-Royce is pushing the boundaries of electric propulsion, setting the stage for a new era in air travel expected to revolutionize the skies within the next decade.

Emerging innovators in electric aviation

It’s not just the big names that are taking to the electric skies; independent companies like ZeroAvia and Heart Aerospace are also at the forefront of this technological frontier. ZeroAvia is an innovator in hydrogen-electric aviation solutions, focusing on developing zero-emission powertrains that could revolutionize the industry. Heart Aerospace is also making huge strides, with its ES-30 electric aircraft designed for efficient regional travel, promising a new era of environmentally friendly air travel. 

Another exciting name to look out for is Conscious Aerospace, which is steering the path towards hydrogen-powered aviation with technologies that offer both sustainability and efficiency for longer flight durations. Their innovative approach is set to make significant impacts on reducing aviation's carbon footprint.

There are many more, including Autoflight’s stunning (and recently successfully tested) electric air taxi technology out of Shanghai, China.

The advantages of electric flight

Reduced noise

Electric planes not only offer substantial environmental benefits, such as drastically reduced carbon emissions, but also promise to revolutionize our flying experience and economic efficiency in aviation. One of the most noticeable benefits for everyday life will be the significant reduction in noise pollution. Unlike their fuel-burning counterparts, electric planes promise a much quieter ride, which is a godsend for those living near airports, continually disrupted by the roar of jet engines overhead. This welcome innovation could also allow for more flexible flight scheduling without breaking noise curfews, simplifying air traffic control.

Reduced costs

Then there’s the financial benefits - the operational costs of electric flights are expected to be much lower. This is due to the lower cost of electricity compared to aviation fuel, and because electric engines have far less moving parts, leading to reduced maintenance costs and fewer mechanical failures. This could make flying more affordable and accessible, especially for regional airlines operating shorter routes.

Design improvements

These aircraft also offer the potential for innovative designs and efficiency improvements. Electric propulsion systems can be more easily adapted to different types of aircraft designs, such as those featuring distributed propulsion with multiple electric motors. This can improve aircraft performance, safety, and control, making electric planes not just an environmentally friendly option, but potentially a superior choice in terms of aircraft design and functionality.

Clearer skies

Electric planes would also see the end of contrails, which are water vapor condensing and freezing around small particles (aerosols) that exist in aircraft exhaust. Switching to electric planes would likely reduce the formation of these visible trails that can be seen dissecting the wide blue yonder, as electric propulsion generates no combustion byproducts. This could  potentially lead to much clearer skies across the globe.

Why we should be excited

The electric aviation sector is not just about transforming how we fly; it's about reshaping our environmental footprint. The transition to electric planes represents a critical step in the aviation industry’s journey towards sustainability. It’s a vision of the future where technology meets responsibility—a future where our skies are quieter, cleaner, and more efficient.

So, while we may not yet be boarding an electric jet for this summer’s vacation, the industry's current endeavors promise that this reality is just over the horizon. Innovations in battery technology and aircraft design are rapidly turning the dream of widespread electric flight into a foreseeable reality. With each test flight and technological breakthrough, we may be inching closer to a world where electric planes are a common sight at airports around the globe.

This burgeoning field of electric aviation is no longer just a curiosity—it's the next frontier in our ongoing quest to blend technological progress with ecological stewardship. So, the next time you think of EVs remember - the sky’s the limit!

How Nexxt Industry supports the sector

At Nexxt Industry, we offer eMobility marketing services with a decade of industry experience, including expertise in marketing for electric powertrain technology. With us, you instantly add years of eMobility marketing experience to your eMobility marketing team.

Learn more

Learn more about us or reach out to learn how working with us will accelerate your marketing results. Stay updated on the latest articles and trends by following us on Linkedin or Facebook.

Header image: the Heart Aerospace ES-30.