It has been revealed that Wright Electric would begin flying a 100-passenger all-electric aircraft on one-hour or shorter itineraries by 2027 in California.
How does it expect to do that? By converting BAe 146 regional aircraft — originally manufactured by BAE Systems in 1983 — to electric power starting in 2026.
Due to a variety of factors, the BAe 146 was selected as the plane of choice. First, it is equipped with 4 jet engines which Wright Electric plans to replace with it’s own 2 MW electric aviation engines. One jet engine will be replaced with an electric motor in 2023, two jet engines will be replaced in 2024, and all four jet engines will be replaced in 2025, before passenger service begins.
Second, because of its ability to ascend quickly and quietly, the BAe 146 is an excellent choice for airports in urban areas where noise pollution is a problem.
A fleet of adapted aircraft with a maximum range of 460 miles (740km), will be built by Wright Electric. The redesigned aircraft, dubbed the Spirit, will serve as a precursor to a new, all-electric model that will enter service in the year 2030.
The world is on the verge of electric air travel, and Wright Electric is one of the firms leading the way. As consumers want greener choices, they choose to retrofit airplane, despite the fact that they would always have downsides but since they were certified so this was a work around as the certification procedure for a completely new aircraft might take years.
In the meantime, Wright is developing a new aircraft from the ground up that will transport 186 people and have a range of 800 miles (1288 kilometres), while also learning how to make electric flying practicable through the conversion of BAe 146 aircraft.
Reference- Wright Electric website & PR, Clean Technica, EV Obsession, Futurism, Popular Science, Straits Times