With fuel prices on the rise and concern about ecological sustainability mounting, a number of organizations are taking a page from the automotive industry and working to develop hybrid-electric or all-electric airplanes. Due to current battery limitations, most of the proposed aircraft have been developed for short trips, although some designers are already looking to the future and conceiving electric designs for larger, long-range aircraft. The segment got a recent shot in the arm when JetSuite Inc., the company behind charter service JetSuite and semi-private flight service JetSuiteX, announced that it would purchase up to 100 examples of the hybrid Zunum jet and integrate it into both of its services as early as 2022.
That said, it hasn’t been a primrose path to large-scale electric aircraft production. In fact, one of the leaders in the field, Siemens, recently faced a tragic setback when one of its experimental Magnus eFusion planes caught fire and crashed during a test flight, taking the lives of both of its pilots. Unfortunately, these sorts of accidents are not uncommon when testing new aerospace technology, but the promise of an all-electric future will continue to drive development forward.
Here we present some of the leading designs in the electric aviation segment.