Photo: Lilium

MIAMI – As airlines around the world suffer from travel disruptions associated with the pandemic, electric aviation development continues strong and seamless.

Considering the global trends for sustainability and digitalization in aviation and specifically in commercial aviation, Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and electric aviation will be main areas of focus for aerospace start-up companies as well as legacy aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus and other key players. 

Morgan Stanley estimates that sustainable air mobility will be a US$1.5tn segment of the market by 2040. As such, there will be tremendous competition between start-up and legacy companies to bring the first fully commercialized electric-aircraft solution to the commercial aviation market. 

Photo: Archer

Archer’s e-VTOLs

Archer is a California-based start-up that introduces itself as building the world’s first all-electric airline around electric, Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft (e-VTOL) to move people throughout the world’s cities. Archer and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had already teamed up to design a cockpit for Archer’s e-VTOL design that will be made of advanced composite material and is capable of traveling distances of up to 60 miles (97 Km) at 150 mph (242 kmph). 

Archer’s ambitious program to produce thousands of its e-VTOL reliably and affordably every single year drive the company to focus on decreasing the cost of production while looking for access to low-cost supply logistics. Both solutions are in the hands of FCA and the new partnership will be beneficial for both parties that together will bring innovative, environmentally friendly transportation solutions to the market at an accelerated pace. 

Other main players in this increasingly competitive market include Blade and Lilium. It is quite interesting to know that Mr. Tom Enders, former CEO of Airbus, has recently joined the board of Lilium Gmbh. Lilium is a Germany-based company that aims to bring the first German e-VTOL to the commercial market by 2025. 

MagniX Electric Retrofits

MagniX, a Washington State-based electric aviation company, has started to retrofit small turbine-engine airplanes with its electric motors and is actively retrofitting its electric engine on fleet of Harbour Air, North America’s largest seaplane airline based in Vancouver.

As it was mentioned by Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX in 2019, 75% of worldwide airline flights in 2018 were between 1,000 and 5,00 miles in range. Considering MagniX’s new propulsion systems coupled with emerging chargeable battery technology, a tremendous potential exist to transform this heavily trafficked sector of commercial flights by implementing electric aviation concepts.

Now, the company is on its new dream mission and is gearing up the level of technology to apply it on up to 40 passenger aircraft. Furthermore, it recently announced that it is moving the engineering operations to a new 40,000-square-foot (3716-square-meter) facility.

Overall, whole activities in developing and commercializing electric aviation and parallel efforts of key regulatory bodies such as FAA and EASA will pave the way for commercialization of electrical aviation and specially integrating UAM as well as personal aerial vehicles (PAV) to the highly congested airspace within the coming decade.

To know more about the future of aviation, check out our Innovation series, with stories about eco-friendly, hybrid and carbon-free flight tech; AI-based aviation software, UAS, innovative aircraft design and supersonic flight.

Featured image: Lilium Gmbh