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Electric flight from A’dam to London

442da0affaea04c569cdc6a1128ba49a - Electric flight from A'dam to London

Electric flying is the best way to the disadvantages of aviation limit, easyJet. And it may already be in 2030 between London and Amsterdam.

Amsterdam-London is an ideal route for the first all-electric flights. From 2030 will medium-sized electric aircraft (about 180 seats) commercial between the two cities fly.

Amsterdam-London is an ideal route for the first all-electric flights. From 2030 will medium-sized electric aircraft (about 180 seats) commercial between the two cities fly.

Johan Lundgren, chairman of the British budgetmaatschappij easyJet, believes in electric flying. It is, according to him, the only adequate answer on the reverse side of aviation: CO2 emissions and noise pollution.

At Schiphol spoke with Lundgren this week with the press about its electric ambitions. He was assisted by Jeffrey Engler, the young boss of two years ago-created startup Wright Electric. The Californian company is developing a motor that is suitable for the size of an A320, the aircraft that easyJet are now widely used.

EasyJet takes care of 22 of the 60 daily flights between Amsterdam and London. Distance, frequency, occupancy and the fact that many passengers a dagretour books, create the route according to Lundgren ideal for the electric scoop.

Competition from the Eurostar, the train that next spring a third daily service opens, he worries that he is not. “There are plenty of customers for different types of transport. Over five years, which we still have 22 flights per day.”

Much less harmful emissions

Electric fly, full or hybrid, is one of the options with which the aviation industry hopes to continue to grow. Especially the strong growth in the next thirty years in Asia is expected, measures against the klimaatschade by aviation is necessary. Flying (or taxiing at airports) on sustainable electricity saves a lot of harmful emissions. The degree of noise reduction is uncertain.

According to consulting firm Roland Berger, the number of projects for electric fly rapidly: from 48 in 2016 to 130 this year. Only a few of them go on bigger aircraft, 90 per cent relates to ‘urban air taxis and small planes. Europe and the USA, China does hardly. Airbus is developing with Siemens, and engine manufacturer Rolls Royce for a larger aircraft, Boeing is working together with start-up Zunum Aero. Norway shows the way: from 2040 to all domestic flights in that country electrically.

Heavy batteries

Outside of easyJet and Wright Electric believe few that 2030 is feasible for a larger aircraft, given the technological obstacles that still need to be overcome. Whence this optimism? Lundgren: “Without goals you achieve nothing. Expectations on technical innovation are to be careful because we go from what we know.’

Engler get quite easily over the biggest obstacle, the enormous weight of the batteries that electric aircraft have to take (and that during the flight do not decrease, as with kerosene).

Engler: “In short flights is the weight. Batterijproducenten work hard to have a higher energy density.’ Now there can be a kilo of kerosene, approximately fifty times more energy to be stored in a kilogram of battery.

Lundgren has a lot of trust in the step-by-step scaling-up of Wright Electric. Now they have a double plane with an electric motor, the next year a nine-seater airplane with a four times stronger motor. By 2025, is going to have a size of 50 chairs, in 2030 to 180 seats and a distance of 500 kilometres.

In addition to new technology, according to easyJet new policy is needed. Airports must be cleaner and quieter aircraft tow and old planes to fend off by lower and higher rates. Governments should refrain from taxes that only in name ‘green’.

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