Wright Electric, easyJet’s partner has announced an engine development programme is underway for Wright 1; its inaugural 186 seat electric aircraft.
Wright is currently building a 1.5 MW electric motor and inverter at 3 kilovolts, in order to achieve the power required for electric flight. According to easyJet and the electric systems manufacturer, these components will form the engine of Wright 1 aircraft and signifies a step closer to a future of zero emissions ‘green’ air travel.
Wright Electric is currently in discussions with BAE Systems to develop appropriate flight controls and energy management systems, with engine ground tests planned for 2021 and eventual flight tests slated for 2023. Wright has also announced that it is moving its headquarters to Albany, NY to leverage engineering talent.
The company expects entry into service of Wright 1 in 2030. “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,” says Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet. “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,” continues Lundgren. “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.”
“Wright Electric is dedicated to bringing low-emissions 186 seat electric planes systems to market,” adds Jeffrey Engler, CEO of Wright Electric. “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.”