EasyJet's electric plane plans are taking off with start-up Wright Electric: Here's how the aircraft will look

Rebecca Smith
EasyJet boss McCall said the aviation industry is following the automotive industry in going electric
EasyJet boss McCall said the aviation industry is following the automotive industry in going electric (Source: EasyJet)

EasyJet is looking to charge up its electric credentials in a tie-up with US company Wright Electric to develop passenger aircraft powered by electric batteries.

The low-cost carrier wants the planes to fly passengers on its short-haul routes.

The airline's interest in the US start-up, which was founded last year, emerged in March, with Wright Electric confirming it had discussed its concept with airlines.

Read more: EasyJet submits offer to acquire part of insolvent Air Berlin

At the time, the carrier confirmed it had discussions with Wright Electric and "is actively providing an airline operator’s perspective on the development of this exciting technology."

Today, the airline said it had been working closely with Wright Electric to progress battery-propelled aircraft. After demonstrating that the technology works in a two-seater plane, Wright has been working with EasyJet to scale up to commercial proportions.

Here's how they're envisaging it will look:

(Click or tap on the images to see them in full screen)

The firm's 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.

Its first plane is designed for flights such as London to Paris, Seoul to Jeju and New York to Boston, and it wants to make all short-haul flights electric-powered within the next 20 years.

EasyJet said that Wright Electric's goal to create an aircraft that can fly 335 miles would cover a fifth of the passengers it currently flies.

In a statement, EasyJet's chief executive Carolyn McCall, said: "We share an ambition with Wright Electric for a more sustainable aviation industry."

Just as we have seen with the automotive industry, the aviation industry will be looking to electric technology to reduce our impact on the environment.

For the first time we can envisage a future without jet fuel and we are excited to be part of it. It is now more a matter of when, not if, a short-haul electric plane will fly.

Jeff Engler, founder of Wright Electric, said EasyJet's insights had helped develop the firm's ambition to "commercialise our aircraft for the large and growing short-haul flight markets".

Read more: Startup sets its sights on electric short-haul flights from London to Paris

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