Swedish startup Heart Aerospace is racing to build the world’s first electric airplane, the 30-seat ES-30 regional airliner. It promises to be in service by the end of the decade. Heart Aerospace has garnered significant interest, with orders from major airlines like Air Canada and US-based United and Mesa Airlines. The ES-30 is designed for short routes and boasts a fully electric range of 200km, extendable to 400km on hybrid power. Its green credentials have attracted investments and orders from various global carriers, making it a promising step towards reducing the carbon impact of flying.
Swedish startup Heart Aerospace is making significant strides in the aviation industry, joining the race to build the world’s first electric airplane. The company’s flagship project, the 30-seat ES-30 regional airliner, is set to be in service by the end of the decade, promising to revolutionize air travel as we know it.
Heart Aerospace initially gained attention with its test flights of a scale model of a 19-seat electric commuter plane. The success of these test flights caught the eye of major carriers, leading to orders for 100 aircraft from US-based United and Mesa Airlines, as reported by Reuters. However, the startup had even grander plans in mind.
The company recently announced its decision to shift its focus from the smaller commuter plane to the ambitious ES-30 airliner. This full-size, four-engine aircraft is designed for short routes that are currently serviced by conventional turbo-prop planes. Boasting a fully electric range of 200km, the ES-30 can be further extended to 400km on hybrid power. By optimizing payload to 25 people, its range increases remarkably to 800km, all while maintaining normal safety reserves – a remarkable feat for an electric airplane.
The interior of the ES-30 is thoughtfully designed to prioritize passenger comfort and convenience. With level floor three-abreast seating, overhead cabin luggage bins, a galley, and a lavatory, the aircraft’s interior closely resembles that of larger airliners. Additionally, it will feature a large external cargo baggage and cargo compartment, adding versatility to its application.
The ES-30 has already received tremendous support from major players in the aviation industry. Air Canada, impressed by the electric airplane’s promising performance and green credentials, has placed an order for 30 aircraft and has also invested in the project. Swedish aerospace company Saab has also joined the mission to electrify regional air travel by investing $5 million in the project.
Anders Forslund, the founder and CEO of Heart Aerospace, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnerships with Air Canada and Saab, recognizing Air Canada’s extensive network operated by regional turboprops, making it a strategically important partner for the project.
Apart from Air Canada’s order for 30 ES-30 electric airplanes, there are letters of intent from other major airlines, including Scandinavian Airlines, Icelandair, Sounds Air of New Zealand, and a major Swedish leasing company, showcasing the widespread interest and demand for this groundbreaking technology.
The ES-30’s potential goes beyond being environmentally friendly. It aims to provide airlines with a cost-efficient solution for a wide range of routes. As Heart Aerospace’s Forslund put it, the ES-30 could start cutting emissions from air travel well before the end of the decade, offering a significant reduction in carbon footprint compared to conventional turboprop airliners.
The use of electric engines will not only contribute to lower emissions but also ensure quieter operations and reduced maintenance costs compared to traditional fossil fuel engines.
Safety remains a top priority for electric airplanes, and the ES-30 addresses this concern by integrating two turbo generators powered by sustainable aviation fuel. This arrangement guarantees that the aircraft meets airline standards for reserve power, providing a viable solution in the event of any need to divert to another airport.
Heart Aerospace is among several companies working to contribute to the development of electric aviation. While the ES-30 leads the charge for regional travel, other players like Wright Electric are also working on larger electric airplanes, such as the Spirit, a 100-seat electric conversion of the BAe-146 regional jetliner.
As the world collectively strives to find sustainable alternatives to traditional aviation, Heart Aerospace’s ES-30 stands at the forefront of electric airplane development, offering a glimpse of a cleaner and greener future for air travel. With major airlines and investors backing the project, the ES-30’s success may pave the way for a new era of electric aviation, bringing us closer to a more sustainable and eco-friendly aviation industry.