The passenger experience of an electric aircraft. What can we expect to see?
Yesterday, Swedish company Heart Aerospace made a major announcement. This involved investments from Saab and Air Canada, a firm aircraft order from Air Canada and the unveiling of a new aircraft, the 30-seat ES-30, which will now enter production in place of the previous ES- 19 of 19 seats.
At the same time, United and Mesa confirmed their commitment to order 200 planes with an option for another 100.
With this industry vote of confidence, it’s fair to say that out of all the different electric, hybrid-electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft start-ups, Heart’s ES-30 is a good bet to be in commercial service. by the target date of 2028.
What will the passenger experience be like?
In his presentation, Anders Forslund, CEO of Heart Aerospace, gave an overview of what to expect while flying the ES-30:
The ES-30 will seat 30 passengers in a 2+1 seating configuration, with standard 30-inch pitch. It has a fully pressurized cabin, standing aisle and overhead compartments for small personal items.
Passengers traveling on the ES-30 will be able to carry the industry standard 25 kg of luggage.
Anders Forslund said there was the “option” of a roof rack and toilet at the front of the aircraft, so some carriers might decide to forego at least the former if it is It’s a short commuter ride.
This is because the electric powertrain has a range of 200 km, but if the turbine engines are used (Anders Forslund called this reserve electric as opposed to hybrid-electric technology), the range extends to 400 km .
So for the average passenger, the experience will be much the same as in today’s small regional jets in terms of seat spacing and storage.
A key difference is noise.
Of course, passengers will notice how quiet the plane is. Electric motors ensure low noise in flight and take-off and a nearly silent taxi. This has implications for local communities, where noise is a factor, as well as for passenger experience.
The partners confirmed so far for the ES-19 are Aernnova (for the airframe), Latecoere (the doors), Garmin (avionics) and MSB for the interiors.
Speaking to Actual News Magazine, Billy Darveau, Director of Engineering at MSB, spoke about the challenges of considering weight on a hybrid-electric aircraft such as the ES-30.
The Eviation Alice – wireless chargers, electrochromatic shades
Another electric plane close to test flight is the Evation Alice. That includes a nine-seat commuter version that got pre-orders from Cape Air in Massachusetts and Global Crossing Airlines in Florida, among others.
The Alice will feature SkyView panoramic windows, with individually controlled electrochromatic shades, and seats with a 32-inch pitch.
When the Points Guy took a look at a prototype of the cabin last year, he complimented the side-mounted wireless smartphone chargers, touch-sensitive reading lights and 1-1 setup.
The look of the Alice itself is also very sleek and distinctive, according to co-founder Omer Bar-Yohay the design and weight are what make the Alice battery-operated.
Of course, the Alice is a smaller aircraft, and it is designed for suburban and sub-regional routes.
For actual regional routes, the current limitations of battery technology mean that hybrid electric aircraft such as Heart Aerospace or hydrogen-electric conversions (such as ZeroAvia) will be the main zero or low emissions regional aircraft we can expect to see. see in service over the next decade.