Airplanes flying solely on electric power has been a prominent idea in aviation for quite some time. However, there are many challenges for fully-electric engines on airliners that are similar to that of electric cars, but progress towards this idea has been made in small strides.
There are already plans for electric aircraft to be in regional airline operations in the early 2020s. At the recent Paris Air Show, Eviation announced that its all-electric aircraft, Alice, is designed to take nine passengers up to 650 miles and has found a launch customer in US regional carrier, Cape Air. It isn’t confirmed how many Eviation Alices the carrier will take at this time.
Rolls-Royce also announced a landmark deal that will result in the acquisition of Siemens’ eAircraft business later this year.
The eAircraft business that Rolls-Royce is buying has bases in Germany and Hungary and has many highly qualified employees who have been developing a range of all-electric and hybrid electric propulsion services for aviation.
Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce’s chief technology officer, believes that all-electric propulsion will power smaller aircraft in the near future, while larger aircraft will depend more on hybrid electric solutions.
Overall, electric aircraft are more environmentally friendly and sustainable, and many in the aviation industry are looking at those qualities to advance the future of flying.