Air Canada orders hybrid-electric planes

Not so long ago, commercial flights on electric planes seemed a remote possibility. However, many young innovative companies are working hard to realize this dream. Let’s mention the Swedish Heart Aerospace which has just received a vote of confidence from a major airline. This September 15, Air Canada announced the conclusion of a contract for the purchase of 30 electric hybrid devices ES-30 in development. Under the terms of the contract, Air Canada also acquired a US$5 million stake in Heart Aerospace. La Swedish company Saab also becomes a minority shareholder in this young company founded in 2018.

Heart Aerospace ES-30 (artist view)

A 30-passenger regional electric aircraft, the ES-30 replaces the company’s earlier 19-seat design, theES-19. Driven by four electric motors powered by batteries lithium-ion battery, the ES-30 will also feature two biofuel-powered turbo-generators. The expected autonomy of the ES-30 in electric only mode is 200 kilometers, extended to 400 kilometers in hybrid mode. The range of the ES-30 can be extended to 800 kilometers by limiting the number of passengers to 25. The expected time to recharge the batteries on the ground is 30 to 50 minutes. However, the anticipated cruising speed of this new aircraft is not specified.

Heart Aerospace targets the short-haul air transport market because commercial flights of less than 2,000 kilometers represent 85% of departures and 43% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from air transport. With the anticipated technological evolution batteries, Heart Aerospace predicts that, by the end of the 2030s, the ES-30 will be able to travel 400 kilometers on all-electric power and up to 600 kilometers in hybrid mode.

Heart Aerospace ES-30 (artist view)

Currently, Air Canada operates approximately 100 regional aircraft through its Air Canada Express/Jazz division. None of its planes, however, is as small as the ES-30, the only one coming close is the CRJ200, which can accommodate 50 passengers. Needless to say, with a range of 2,500 kilometers and a cruising speed of Mach 0.8, the CRJ200 is in another league, however. In a country as vast as Canada, one can wonder about the destinations that will be served by the ES-30. Air Canada says nothing about it, but seems to be targeting new markets. Air Canada is not the only carrier to be interested in future aircraft Heart Aerospace. These include United Airlines, Mesa Air Group, Braathens Regional Airlines, Icelandair and SAS.

Currently, Heart Aerospace has letters of intent for around 100 ES-30 aircraft scheduled to enter service in 2028. The assembly plant will be located in Gothenburg, Sweden. The revolution of electric transport is launched and very clever who could say how far it will take us !

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