At the virtual Farnborough Airshow, the Electric Aviation Group (EAG) unveiled the concept of the world’s first 70-passenger hybrid-electric passenger carrier to be implemented, paving the way for sustainable aviation for the masses.
Plans similar to this concept have already been presented by major aircraft manufacturers, but they have only sought to anticipate the developments expected in the coming decades, so such were only visions. In contrast, a model based on current plans could go on the market in as little as ten years. The Bristol-based design firm says it could pave the way for carbon-neutral, sustainable travel for a wide range of people, while the development will create jobs in the UK in the current economic crisis, the communication said.
Kamran Iqbal, the company’s founding CEO, said huge sums have already been raised to develop 19-20-seat, hybrid or fully electric passenger carriers, but this is a bad strategy in his view. This is because such small types are unsuitable for achieving general carbon neutrality while serving market needs. In contrast, the Hybrid-Electric Regional Aircraft (HERA) developed by EAG is scheduled to carry 70 passengers over a range of 1,480 kilometers and is expected to be feasible in just eight years, according to the company. Based on the ambitious idea, the model could be on the market by 2028. Development is already at an advanced stage, with a total of 25 different technological innovations patented.
Among others, so-called Gear Assisted Take-Off Run (GATOR) technology would help with short-run take-offs: in addition to the power delivered by the engines, the wheels of the undercarriages are driven for better acceleration and more efficient energy use. There are even several generators in the machine that partially recharge the batteries in flight, thus shortening turnaround times, and in addition, considering the rapid technological development, the manufacturer also creates the possibility of conversion to a fully electric drive. The cabin is factory-fitted with a system that allows for quick, even day-to-day conversions, enabling airlines to operate daytime passenger aircraft as cargo carriers at night.
Carbon-neutral – largely electric – aviation is expected to have a total market of $ 4.4 trillion soon, and HERA alone, which has just been developed, could generate a total investment of $ 5 billion in the UK market. However, there is some pessimism that, according to a recent Boeing analysis, a carbon-neutral aircraft cannot be built before 2035.