6 electric aviation companies to keep on your radar

Aviation emissions have doubled since the mid-1980s, reports Our World in Data, and they account for 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The United States is becoming more ambitious in terms of achieving net zero emissions, and President Joe Biden even signed an executive order pushing for a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. Managing air travel is a big part of what has inspired for innovation in sustainable aviation fuels, as well as in technologies that promise to electrify aviation.

“The electrification of aviation has come a long way in recent years. In 2008, the industry adopted a global, sector-wide climate action framework – a world first. Since then, the industry has continued to recognize and respond to environmental concerns expressed by consumers, the lobby, governments and other actors. for example, reducing emissions and reducing noise levels, “Stephane Lagut, global aviation and defense manager at Ernst & Young, told GreenBiz. “Together, these factors have made a greener, cleaner aviation sector inevitable – and that was before the pandemic hit.”

Aviation got a big hit due to the pandemic. Still, groups of investments in air mobility are ready to pour funds into electric aviation. Tag UP.Partners. The company launched a $ 230 million venture capital fund last fall to support electric carriers. With more financial backing, we can see some all-electric passenger planes in the sky in 2026.

In some ways, the unexpected travel stoppage in 2020 may have helped boost this transition. First, free-falling demand led to low aircraft consumption, which triggered the shutdown of older aircraft faster than planned. Cost pressures on the system also drive the investigation of investments in more cost-effective and sustainable aircraft, Lagut said.

The industry may still be far away from urban air mobility, also called flying taxis. (See our separate list for some of these players.) Still, advances in electric and autonomous vehicles have sparked renewed enthusiasm to integrate battery power more broadly into aviation, Lagut explained. Financing, talent, battery capacity and other concerns about energy storage will be some of the biggest obstacles in the electric aviation industry, but companies are not shy away from the challenges.

The global market for electric aircraft is expected to reach $ 27.7 billion by 2030, according to market research firm MarketsandMarkets. Experts say the growth in this market stems from the deployment of urban mobility aircraft and the increasing use of electric aircraft for freight and other activities.

Below you will find six electric carriers that you can see in 2022. We present these privately owned companies because they are all moving into new stages of product development, raising funds to create growth, or simply embarking on their missions.

It is important to note that these are not the only companies that do the best job, but these are some we think you should know about. We also selected electric carriers, which we have not previously highlighted (check the 2019 list), and which are not linked to projects managed by major airlines or airlines.

Here they are:

AirFlow

Air flow

San Francisco Bay Area-based Airflow was founded in 2019 and is building an aircraft for mid-mile logistics and passengers. The aircraft, which can carry nine passengers or 2,000 pounds of cargo, will be manned and operated by one pilot. The company was launched by a team from the former Airbus Vahana eVTOL program, working on an electrically powered prototype for personal aircraft.

Over the next decade, Airflow wants to develop fully autonomous, load-bearing vehicles. For now, the company is focused on developing its flagship electric short take-off and landing craft (eSTOL). Airflow recently landed partnerships with Honeywell and Tailwind Air Service to help develop their aircraft. Through its partnership with Honeywell, Airflow will test the company’s traffic radar technology on its aircraft and develop personal avoidance algorithms.

“Honeywell recognizes the impact that an eSTOL manned aircraft can have on not only passenger and mid-range logistics operations, but also on building a sustainable future for aviation. We want our technologies to be part of this journey and future, “Stéphane Fymat, Vice President and General Manager of Urban Air Mobility at Honeywell Aerospace, said in a press release. “Airflow is founded by some of aviation’s most experienced professionals, and we are pleased to help the company achieve both their short- and long-term goals, which are to expand the benefits of aviation as well as reduce carbon emissions with an electric aircraft.”

The company has not yet revealed financing details, but states on its website that it will soon share venture capital support. Airflow is led by CEO Marc Ausman, a former chief strategist at the Airbus Vahana program. Prior to launching Airflow, Ausman also held leadership roles at Yuneec, Eclipse Aviation and the U.S. Navy.

Beta technologies

Beta technologies

Burlington, Vermont-based Beta Technologies is an aerospace manufacturer developing electric vertical takeoff and landing craft (eVTOL) for the freight and logistics industry. The company was founded in 2017 and started as CEO Kyle Clark’s senior dissertation project in college. He threw himself into learning aircraft design and eventually landed on the concept that Beta is promoting today.

The startup has raised $ 511 million in funding across two rounds, including a $ 368 million Series A series that closed in May. It has attracted investment from Amazon, Hula and The Climate Pledge.

But Beta is not only in the business of developing electric aircraft; the company also provides fast charging stations at airports and is developing a training program with CAE, a Canada-based manufacturer of simulation technologies, for electric vertical pilots and maintenance technicians. Clark said Beta has more than 60 fast charging stations online or under construction from here to Arkansas.

“The future of transportation is electric, and Beta makes it possible,” Clark told GreenBiz. “We are building all the necessary elements for the deployment of electric aircraft – including the aircraft itself, as well as a charging infrastructure across countries that supports fully electric vehicles – eVTOL, trucks, cars – not just our own.”

With its permanent mission to expand electric aviation worldwide, Beta built, tested and flew its first eVTOL aircraft, the Ava, in less than a year. The company took lessons from its flagship aircraft and built Alia, which has a 50-foot wingspan and will be the aircraft Beta takes through FAA certification. Clark said Alia is a “zero operational emissions aircraft” that reduces material waste generated in production and ongoing maintenance, and offers a lower-power vehicle for utility cases across the board.

Heart Aerospace

Heart Aerospace

Heart Aerospace, a Swedish-based start-up of electric aviation, is developing an electric aircraft with 19 passengers that can travel 250 miles and a backup generator for energy reserve and range expansion. The company invented its flagship Heart ES-19, and United Airlines and commercial carrier Mesa Air Group ordered 200 of Heart Aerospace’s first electric aircraft.

Last summer, the company closed a $ 35 million Serie A financing round led by big names, including Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and United’s venture arm. Heart Aerospace originated from a research project at the Swedish Chalmers University of Technology in 2018, and the company was part of Y Combinator’s winter 2019 cohort. The company’s deal with United and Mesa was announced in conjunction with its Series A and includes an option to purchase up to 100 additional aircraft, TechCrunch reported.

“We are not looking to reinvent the wheel. Many startups present very new aircraft architectures that spend several years in subscale tests just to demonstrate the aircraft’s basic functionality,” says Anders Forslund in a press release. “We have avoided these pitfalls by relying on a conventional aircraft architecture,” says Forslund. “We can devote almost all of our resources to formal development – bringing this aircraft through certification and into commercial operation.”

Heart Aerospace has raised $ 37.3 million since inception to develop its electric aircraft, and the company plans to deliver its first commercial aircraft by 2026. We expect the company to continue to release positive progress updates following the successful flight of a subscale model of its Heart ES-19 aircraft in December. See the flight here.

Universal Hydrogren

Universal Hydrogen

Los Angeles-based Universal Hydrogen is on a mission to make a flexible and carbon-free future possible by making hydrogen the universal fuel choice. The company developed a modular capsule technology solution for hydrogen transportation to power electric aircraft. Universal Hydrogen is also developing conversion kits that aircraft operators can purchase to retrofit their existing regional aircraft with hydrogen-electric powertrains compatible with its modular capsule technology.

In October, Universal Hydrogen secured $ 62 million in funding to promote the first test flight of its hydrogen fuel cell driveline on a regional passenger aircraft in 2022. The company said its technology is appealing because the modular capsules are lighter than your typical hydrogen storage options.

Universal Hydrogen also landed a partnership with Connect Airlines in December to help it become the first U.S.-based zero-emission airline. The airline is buying 24 of Universal Hydrogen’s green hydrogen conversion kits to switch to an actual zero-emission operation. Universal Hydrogen has signed various other letter of intent with airlines interested in purchasing their conversion kits.

Wright electric

Wright electric

Launched in 2016, New York-based Wright Electric builds technology for large commercial aircraft and develops its flagship electric aircraft. The Wright Spirit will be a zero-emission aircraft with 100 passengers for one-hour flights, and the Wright 1 will be a 186-seat single-flight aircraft with a range of 800 miles.

The company’s mission is to eliminate carbon emissions from all flights under 800 miles, so it is targeting single – flight aircraft, which account for 45 percent of all aviation emissions. Wright plans to do this by developing electric motors, high-frequency inverters and adaptive propulsion systems. The company is in the development stage for its motors and inverters and will be working on the propulsion fans this year. After 2022, Wright will be in test mode ahead of its plans to launch Wright Spirit in 2026 and Wright 1 in 2030.

Wright is funded by NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, Y Combinator, Lionheart Ventures, the U.S. Air Force and other investors. The company designs its electric motors so that they can be scaled from 500 kilowatts to four megawatts.

“The level of power and weight demonstrated with our new 2 MW engine will be the basis of any new electric aircraft and is a key technology in our megawatt system,” Wright CEO Jeff Engler said in a press release.

Nul Avia

ZeroAvia

After closing a $ 35 million Series B in December, this hydrogen-electric aircraft developer is hyper-focused on its growth plans.

ZeroAvia manufactures hydrogen electric aircraft to improve emissions performance. The company was founded in 2017 in San Carlos, California, but moved to the UK last year. ZeroAvia has made significant progress in developing its commercial entry-level product. The company began electrical testing of its original driveline design in 2019, and most recently, in August, ZeroAvia made some soil samples on its hydrogen aircraft engine.

In its first HyFlyer I project, the company completed 35 test flights of its six-seater prototype. For its HyFlyer II project, ZeroAvia is developing a 600 kilowatt hydrogen-powered driveline for a 10-20-seat aircraft and preparing flight tests in early 2022. The company has secured commercial agreements with big names such as Alaska Airlines, ASL Aviation Holdings and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Regional Jet division. ZeroAvia has secured more than 460 commitments to deliver on its hydrogen electric motors and other applications.

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