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EasyJet backs electric planes for commercial lift off

27 Septembre 2017

Bloomberg reported this morning that easyJet was working with US-based Wright Electric, which is setting its sights on designing an aircraft that can fly 335 miles.

With easyJet's average flight time under two hours, the budget carrier would not be as constrained as long-distance airlines by the limited range of a battery-powered aircraft.

Not only will the planes be fueled differently, but they will also look far more streamlined if simulations from Wright Electric are anything to go by - the batteries to power the propellers would no longer be slung under the wings but placed inside the wings.

"Just as we have seen with the automotive industry, the aviation industry will be looking to electric technology to reduce our impact on the environment", McCall said.

Its most ambitious - some would say far-fetched - project is to develop an all-electric commercial passenger jet which it says could be operating short-haul flights (330 miles/530km) across its United Kingdom and European network within a decade.

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The EasyJet deal is one of many partnerships Wright Electric has formed with airlines around the world, as pressure mounts on the industry to find greener alternatives to jet fuel. The company, which already demonstrated a two-seater electric airplane, plans to complete the first prototype of a commercial-scale aircraft by 2021.

Wright Electric was founded in 2016 and has a target for all short-haul flights to be zero-emission within 20 years.

For now the partnership is focusing on making the decision commercially successful, according to EasyJet's commercial officer Peter Duffy.

"You are seeing cities and countries starting to talk about banning diesel combustion engines", he argues.

Wright Electric has released images on its website of how a battery-powered EasyJet plane might look, although it is working with other airlines as it moves towards its goal. It believes that, compared with traditional aircraft, electric planes will be up to 50 per cent quieter and 10 per cent cheaper for airlines to buy and operate. Jeffrey Engler, Wright Electric co-founder, said he wants to make flying "as clean and sustainable as possible".

EasyJet backs electric planes for commercial lift off