Startup Wright Electric plans to make electric short-haul flights like London to Paris a reality

Rebecca Smith
Electric flights from London to the French capital could be on the horizon
Electric flights from London to the French capital could be on the horizon (Source: Getty)

A startup has its eyes on electrifying the world of aviation, with plans to launch an electric-powered commercial flight from London to Paris in 10 years.

Wright Electric’s plane hasn’t gone into development yet, but would carry 150 people on journeys of less than 300 miles.

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The plan is to build a commercial passenger plane that runs on batteries and carries out short-haul trips to disrupt the market dominated by aviation giant Boeing's 737. It wants to make all short-haul flights electric-powered within the next 20 years. Short-haul trips currently make up 30 per cent of all flights.

By removing the need for jet fuel, the firm believes the price of travel could drop substantially.

And while the startup is in its early stages, it has already met with airlines about its concept, and has caught the attention of EasyJet, which last month announced the first startups chosen for its own Travel Tech accelerator programme with incubator Founders Factory.

The low-cost airline has got a close eye on Wright Electric's development, and said in a statement: "EasyJet has had discussions with Wright Electric and is actively providing an airline operator’s perspective on the development of this exciting technology."

Wright Electric previewed its concept at Y Combinator Demo Day, where the Silicon Valley startup accelerator shows off companies in front of investors. Previous participants in the programme include Airbnb, Reddit and Dropbox.

Its plan though will depend on the advances in battery technology; if they make significant strides in the next 10 years, the aim is to go all-electric and if not, it will use a hybrid system.

Others too, are exploring electric developments, including the aerospace giant Airbus, which has been creating its electric two-seater plane since 2014.

It said at the time that the development of an electric-powered regional plane, carrying 70 to 90 people, could take between 15 to 20 years.

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