electric aircraft
Image credit: Wright Electric

Electric aviation startup Wright Electric has announced the start of its megawatt-level electric propulsion development programme for its flagship 186 seat electric aircraft, named Wright 1. 

In order to achieve the commercial flight capability of the Wright 1, the company is engineering electrical systems by building a 1.5MW electric motor and inverter at 3 kilovolts. These components will form the powerplant of Wright’s revolutionary Wright 1 aircraft and pave the way for a future of zero-emissions flight worldwide. 

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Wright intends to conduct ground tests of its motor in 2021, flight tests in 2023 and entry into service of its flagship Wright 1 in 2030.

Wright will be simultaneously conducting tests on its fuselage to improve aerodynamics. Numerous government agencies in the United States are funding research into electric aviation including NASA and Air Force Research Laboratory. 

easyJet, Europe’s leading airline and partner to Wright Electric, welcomed this announcement as the airline company has a target to achieve a 38% reduction by 2022, and a long-term goal of carbon-free aviation, which Wright is making possible. 

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, commented: “This is another crucial step for our partner Wright Electric to move towards the introduction of commercial electric aircraft and it is exciting to see their ambitious timeline for testing and entry into service.   

“Battery technology is advancing at pace with numerous US government agencies now funding research into electric aviation– all of these developments help us to more clearly see a future of more sustainable operations.

“We know it is important to our customers that we operate as sustainably as possible – our carbon offsetting programme has been positively received by our customers and we have now offset more than nine million passenger journeys – but we are clear this is an interim solution until new technologies become available and we can see more clearly than ever a future that is not exclusively reliable on jet fuel.”

Jeffrey Engler, CEO of Wright Electric, added: “Wright Electric is dedicated to bringing low-emissions 186 seat electric planes systems to market. Wright Electric’s mission is to make commercial aviation greener, and our megawatt engine program is the next step in making our mission a reality.”

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