The electric hybrid aircraft could bring lower operation costs and additional routes
Hawaii-based carrier Mokulele Airlines is about to experiment with new ways of transportation.
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the airline has teamed up with Los Angeles-based aircraft design firm Ampaire. Together, they will test electric hybrid planes for commercial use on Mokulele’s route from Maui in September or October.
In future, the companies aim to implement the aircraft for short-haul flights. Hawaii seems to be a perfect fit for such tests, as the communities on the islands rely mostly on short-haul connections.
Mokulele hopes that the hybrid planes would lower the cost of their operation. Furthermore, hybrids could also bring more frequent flights as well as more routes for the carrier.
As a part of the cooperation, Mokulele will lend Ampaire its pilots and hangar space at Kahului airport on Maui.
Hybrids to take over the skies in the mid-2020s
Ampaire and Mokulele are not the only companies that seek to reduce operation costs with revolutionary planes.
In November 2017, Airbus, Siemens and Rolls-Royce announced their mutual project of developing an electric hybrid aircraft that could cut aviation pollution.
Rolls-Royce is reportedly working on creating a new electricity generator that, along with jet fuel, will power Siemens’s two-megawatt motor. This will be attached to the E-Fan X plane manufactured by Airbus.
“We see hybrid-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation,” Paul Eremenko, Airbus’s chief technology officer, said when announcing the cooperation.
Calling the project the E-Fan initiative, the companies seek to develop electric passenger jets for commercial use by 2025.
Similarly, another large player in the market — Boeing — could not remain behind. The aircraft manufacturer took part in a Washington-based start-up Zunum to develop an autonomous and electrically powered plane.
Eventually, the Zunum project should deliver a 10–12 seat aircraft by 2022 and scale up to 50–100 seaters by 2030.