EasyJet announced on Thursday that their partner, Wright Electric, has started development of an electric engine to power a proposed 186 seat aircraft. Wright Electric is working with BAE systems to accelerate the development process.
Yesterday, easyJet announced that their partner Wright Electric has started development of an electric engine designed to power a proposed 186 seat passenger aircraft. Wright Electric is working with BAE Systems to accelerate development of the new powerplant. Startup Wright Electric is currently developing electrical systems on the megawatt scale to power the ‘Wright 1’ concept aircraft. The company is developing a 1.5MW electric motor coupled with a 3 kilovolt inverter which will form the propulsion system for revolutionary Wright 1, which promises a future of flight with zero emissions. In Thursday’s announcement, easyJet’s CEO, John Lundgren said,
“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 reliant on jet fuel.”
Also commenting on yesterday’s announcement, Wright Electric’s CEO, Jeffrey Engler added,
“Wright Electric is dedicated to bringing low-emissions 186 seat electric plane 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.”
Wright Electric is in discussions with BAE systems regarding both flight controls and energy management systems and plans on ground testing the new electric engine in 2021, with flight tests to follow by 2023. The company demonstrated a preview of their motor and fan at an event in New York City yesterday, and further announced that the company would relocate to Albany, New York, to take advantage of the world-class engineering talent available there.
easyJet carries over 100M passengers annually on 1,061 routes to 159 airports in 36 countries. The airline has a fleet of more than 334 aircraft and over 300M Europeans live within an hour’s drive of an airport served by easyJet. The 25 year old low-cost carrier is dedicated to innovation and leads the industry in digital, web, engineering and operational efficiencies. easyJet was named “Britain’s Most Admired Company” in the transport sector for 2019, based on the longest running annual corporate reputation study in the UK.