Airline Introduces Electric Planes to Fleet

Airline follows United Airlines trail toward lower emissions.

Transportation, using fossil fuels for cars, trucks, ships, trains and of course planes, makes up 27% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency Environmental Protection Agency.

Passenger cars make up a majority of carbon emissions in the transportation industry at 45%. Trains and freight trucks are responsible for 29% and aviation is responsible for 11-12% of carbon emissions. 

The United Nations has committed to reducing the worlds carbon emissions through using renewable sources, such as solar power, and wind power. The strategy to attack the worldwide problem at all angles includes reducing carbon emissions from as many aspects as we can.

The electric car did not catch on until recently, but it was first invented in 19th century. It was plagued by a problem as the battery couldn’t compete with the horsepower of the gas-powered car. Gas-powered cars would take center stage and have been the mainstay in the automobile industry.

Now, at the forefront is a world facing a climate crisis, the automobile industry is pushing to get electric cars to the masses and make it appealing and affordable.

Electric Trains also were invented in the 1800’s, and by the 1930’s they were becoming more popular. They were replacing steam powered trains in many cases, along with diesel trains replacing steam as well. The main delay in using electric trains was it was a massive undertaking to change the existing railway infrastructure. The push to get electric trains is not only because they will be more efficient and reliable, but they will produce less carbon emissions.

Planes haven’t been on the forefront of the public’s eye when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, but it has been in the works anyway. Leaders in the aviation emission reduction is Denmark and Sweden, as they plan to make all domestic flights fossil fuel free by 2030. U.S. airlines plan to begin using electric planes by 2026.

United Airlines to Reduce Carbon Emissions with Purchase

United Airlines  (UAL) – Get United Airlines Holdings Inc. Report made a deal with Heart Aerospace in 2021 to acquire 100 plans with a seating capacity of 19 passengers each. These smaller planes would replace the small regional flights around the nation. This is the U.S. airlines’ first major step towards reducing carbon emissions. These smaller planes were supposed to be able to fly up to 250 miles in one flight and would have been ready to begin flight testing by 2026.

Heart Aerospace changed its ES-19 to the ES-30, and with the design change it will be able to accommodate 30 passengers. However, it would only be able to travel 125 miles, instead of the 250 it originally claimed it would be able to travel. This distance will still work for most regional commuter flights. 

Air Canada Makes a Commitment to Buy

Canada is working toward a countrywide goal of transitioning to net-zero emissions by 2050. Heart Aerospace and Air Canada  (ACDVF)  have reached a purchase agreement for Air Canada to purchase 30 of Heart Aerospace’s ES-30 battery powered aircraft. 

Heart Aerospace, a Swedish company manufacturing the ES-30 Electric-Hybrid aircraft, will create zero emissions and will be less noisy than current aircraft. Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, plans for these hybrid-electric aircraft to start taking commercial flights by 2028.

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Air Canada has a vested interest in the success of Heart Aerospace, as it has a $5 million stake in the company. Other notable investors in Heart Aerospace are United Airlines Ventures, Mesa Airlines operated by Mesa Air Group  (MESA) – Get Mesa Air Group Inc. Report, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, founded by Bill Gates. Saab  (SAABF)  has also invested $5 million into Heart Aerospace.

The challenge has always been about creating enough power to make meaningful flights. These hybrid-electric aircrafts will be less expensive to service, and they will be quieter thus reducing noise pollution. The lower cost in maintenance could also lead to lower flight costs. The challenge in physics involved in designing electric planes is the size and weight of the batteries needed to operate the planes. 

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