EasyJet Starts Work on a Cheaper, Cleaner Plane That Runs on Electricity

Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images
Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images / Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

To get a plane from Point A to Point B, airlines need jet fuel, and lots of it. But soon, there may be an alternative that would take fossil fuels out of the equation. As The Guardian reports, the British airline easyJet is working with a U.S. company called Wright Electric to make electric planes for short-distance flights a reality within the next decade.

The proposed battery from Wright Electric could power flights up to two hours long, making it fitting for quick trips between cities like London and Paris, or for domestic flights within the UK. According to easyJet, about 20 percent of their current flights fall within the 335-mile range this new technology aims to cover.

The benefits of electric planes would extend beyond decreasing fossil fuel consumption. The battery-powered aircraft would be half as loud as easyJet's current planes. The new planes would also be 10 percent less expensive to purchase and fly, a cost reduction that could end up bringing down ticket prices.

EasyJet isn’t the only company working to get electric planes off the ground. Earlier in 2017, Eviation Aircraft unveiled a prototype for their Alice Commuter plane, an all-electric jet designed for private air travel. But if easyJet’s new planes are runway-ready within the planned timeline, they could be among the first electric planes for commercial flights. Wright Electric already has a two-seat prototype built, and their long-term goal is to make a battery strong enough to run a 120-passenger plane.

A fossil-fuel-free airplane would be a major development for the aviation industry, which currently produces hundreds of millions of tons of carbon emissions each year. And easyJet already provides a great example to companies looking to reduce their footprints: Between 2000 and 2016, the airline reduced its carbon emissions per passenger-kilometer by 31 percent.

[h/t The Guardian]