Climate change Science and Technology

Swedish Heart Aerospace to launch electric planes by 2026 to limit aviation emissions

The Swedish Heart Aerospace, a company building 19-seater electric airplanes is set to launch the electric planes by 2026. Electric aviation will play a major role as the world scramble to limit greenhouse gas emissions. In the face of global warming, making electric planes will be the most sustainable and cost-effective way to travel.

It has been estimated that short-haul flights (under 2,000 km) account for 43% of carbon dioxide emissions from global air travel.

The US airline and Breakthrough Energy Ventures are the first investors in the Swedish Heart Aerospace project. The company announced that it closed $35 million (nearly £25 million) in a Series A funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, United Airlines Ventures, and Mesa Air Group Inc. along with its existing investors EQT Ventures and LowerCarbon Capital.

The investment is part of the airline’s plan to reduce greenhouse emissions by 100 percent by 2050 without relying on traditional carbon offsets.

The Heart Aerospace electric aircraft will be driven entirely by batteries and electric motors- using lithium-ion batteries. The planes will operate using the same technology used in electric cars- lithium-ion batteries. 

The first-generation aircraft will have a maximum range of up to 400 km (250 miles), using lithium-ion batteries. The range will increase as battery energy densities improve.

The company anticipates delivering the first ES-19 for commercial use by 2026. 

The core of the ES-19 is the electric propulsion system. In 2020, Heart Aerospace demonstrated its first iteration of this electric propulsion system, consisting of a 400kW electric motor, an electric motor controller, and a battery pack with an integrated BMS system.

The ES-19 will have zero operational emissions and offer significantly lower operating costs compared to similar-sized gas-turbine aircraft. The ES-19 aircraft will also be quieter than its turboprop counterparts, with less vibration and noise. 

These characteristics make the aircraft ideal for the development of short-range regional air travel.

“Aviation is such a critical piece of our global economy. At the same time, it’s a major source of carbon emissions and one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonize,” said Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. 

“We believe electric aircraft can be transformational in reducing the emissions of the industry, and enable low cost, quiet, and clean regional travel on a broad scale. Heart’s visionary team is developing an aircraft around its proprietary electric propulsion technology that will allow airlines to operate at a fraction of the cost of today and has the potential to change the way we fly.”

“Breakthrough Energy Ventures is the leading voice of investors who are supporting clean-energy technology creation. We share their view that we have to build companies who have real potential to change how industries operate and in our case, that means investing in companies like Heart Aerospace who are developing a viable electric airliner,” said Michael Leskinen, United’s Vice President Corp Development & Investor Relations, as well as UAV’s President. “We’re proud to partner with Mesa Air Group to bring electric aircraft to our customers earlier than any other US airliner.”

“We are proud to work with United and Heart to launch the world’s first electric, regional aircraft. Mesa intends to continue its expansion through the introduction of revolutionary technology that benefits our passengers and the environment. 

We are delighted to build upon our relationship with United through our joint investment in Heart”, said Jonathan Ornstein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “These technological innovations are good for the environment, will expand the national transportation system, and provide significant growth opportunities for Mesa. We look forward to reconnecting with communities and passengers we previously served.”

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