Portuguese company wants to be the first in the world to fly an electric plane. Three ordered – News

 Portuguese company wants to be the first in the world to fly an electric plane.  Three ordered - News

The ambitious collective long-term goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050 by the aviation industry and the promise of airline operators to start net carbon neutral flight by the end of the first half of the century seems far back in time, but it is just around the corner.

What seemed like science fiction — quiet, eco-friendly planes without the use of fossil fuels — is about to happen, and by the end of the decade they can be seen in the skies.

Battery-powered aircraft are starting to gain traction and Heart Aerospace, a Swedish startup founded in 2018, is leading the way. In Gothenburg, it is developing a battery-powered aircraft, rechargeable in 30 minutes and capable of flying over short distances. And there are already orders everywhere, including in Portugal.

Endowed with financial clout, backed by giant partners such as United Airlines, Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy, SAS, recently raised $10 million in investment – Air Canada and Saab, Sweden’s largest aerospace company and former regional aircraft manufacturer – for the development of the electric aircraft.

ES-30. 200 kilometers of autonomy and 30 seats on board

They passed the Portugal Air Summit, an international aviation summit, in Ponte de Sor, where they presented the ES-30 model and struck a deal with Sevenair, a Portuguese regional aviation company.

“It will be a 30-seat plane, which was launched in Gothenburg a month ago,” he explained SAPO24 Alexandre Alves, manager of Sevenair. “It can make 100% electric flights up to 200 kilometers and will have a small turbine powered by renewable fuels to power the batteries and will be able to extend up to 400 kilometers of autonomy,” he explained.

Sevenair signed “a letter of intent to purchase three aircraft with an option for three more,” it said. “We are trying to be the first company in the world to fly this electric commercial transport aircraft,” he revealed. “We are trying to be the first country in the world with an airline that flies 100% electric,” he emphasized.

After “three years of searching for solutions, the financial part and the know how [da Heart Aerospace] gave us guarantees that the project had legs to walk,” he said about the reasons for choosing to join the Swedish startup.

“The ES-30 is an electric plane that the industry can really use. We designed an economy aircraft that allows airlines to provide great service on a wide variety of routes. The response from the market has been fantastic,” Anders Forslund, Heart Aerospace founder and CEO, said in a statement.

“We have designed an aircraft that can start reducing emissions from regional air travel well before the end of this decade and airlines such as Sevenair are making this possible,” he announced in response to the letter signed with the Portuguese company.

a matter of batteries

“United Airlines ordered 200. Air Canada ordered 30. We are the right size in terms of market and autonomy, we operate on short routes, Cascais, Viseu, Vila Real, ideal to improve the aircraft,” said Alexandre Alves.

Portuguese short-haul regional aviation company (last mile), operating on 19-seat aircraft, Sevenair fits the ES-30 project like a glove. “And the entry level, a part of the aviation sector that will be the first to implement new technologies and meet carbon neutrality. There is a commitment from the aviation industry and this will be the first step,” he assured.

“Elected a month ago to the advisory board”, a regional airline based at the municipal airport of Ponte de Sor, will be “an integral part of the project development” and promises to use the know-how “to improve the aircraft to the reality of a operator”.

The certification should take place “in 2027 or 2028 to be operational by 2030,” he said.

The conversation turned back to the subject of batteries. Alexandre Alves pointed to an advantage. “The ES-30 Vive is based on batteries and as the batteries develop, just replace them and the aircraft will have more capacity and autonomy,” assured the Portuguese operator.

The average life of the batteries is “at least 5 years”, although he admits that “evolution is going very fast and when we reach the certification of the aircraft they will no longer be the same (batteries)”, he predicted.

Battery power “will not affect speed” and performance will be “comparable to existing aircraft on the market,” he assured.

With a long way to go in terms of regulation, it removes any doubt as to who will put their trust in an aircraft powered by electric batteries. “I think there is still a lot of communication work to be done,” he admitted, “but the mentality is now much more accustomed to the proliferation of electric solutions for cars,” he acknowledged. “Technology is becoming more common in cars and will be in aviation as well,” he predicts.

Cost reduction (fuel and maintenance) makes short routes and flights possible for everyone

Regarding investment values, there are still some uncertainties. “The final value has not yet been finalised. We are talking about more than ten million per plane,” he continued.

The ES-30 should be a key player in the paradigm shift, noise reduction and the pursuit of carbon-free flights.

In this reduction of headaches for airlines, on the one hand, “reduce operating costs, reduce fuel, maintenance costs to 60%, enable a significant reduction in ticket prices and open the range of travel options”. t”, suggested Alexandre Alves, administrator of Sevenair. On the other hand, it opens up space for the economic viability of short-haul routes, which is one of the problems many companies face.

With Sevenair’s wishes, Heart Aerospace has a total of 230 orders, plus 100 options for the ES-30, in addition to letters of intent for an additional 99 aircraft.