Ships, planes, trains and trucks are currently responsible for8% of global emissions of greenhouse gases. By 2050, freight emissions could double, given the boom in online shopping and home delivery.
By far, the most significant source is road vehicles, which account for around two thirds of total emissions in the freight sector. The transition to electric vehicles could reduce their environmental impact, but the knot linked to heavy road transport remains. And this is where Beta Technologies' electric airplane comes into play.
The startup founded in 2017 by the engineer Kyle Clark it “churned out” its first prototype (flying) electric airplane a few months after the first financing obtained. The target? Move part of the freight off the road.
Will he succeed?
Once again (I will never tire of repeating it) Nature is the teacher. The peculiarity of the Beta Technologies electric airplane is that it is modeled on the shapes of a little bird, the tern paradisea (also called Arctic tern). Its peculiarity? In the course of its life, it can travel as many kilometers as it takes to go from the earth to the moon six times: thanks to its wing configuration which gives it extraordinary stability.
ALIA 250, the electric airplane prototype developed by the startup, lands and takes off vertically. A full blown eVTOL that doesn't need traditional airports or runways. It can carry a load of 630kg (1400 lbs) and has a range of 400km at a speed of 270km / h. Simply put: it can deliver a shipment from Paris to London in under an hour and a half.
The future of the electric airplane
Beta's goal is to start from his "hometown", and create a first network of 480 solar-powered charging stations in the United States: it has already built 55.
An amazing start, what comes next? I remember 630kg is quite a lot of cargo, but a van can carry at least 1800kg (4000lbs). I imagine that for the moment deliveries by electric airplane are "limited" to packages that have high or very high priority.
Before then, however, the stumbling block is that of certification. The authorities have not yet certified an electric aircraft for commercial use: this is the real goal, which Beta Technologies plans to achieve before 2024.
He has no other problems. The planes are ready, the charging network is under construction, and orders are also flooding.
They will be snapped up
The plane, which costs between $ 4 and $ 5 million (versus $ 230 million for a cargo plane like the A330) has already received 60 orders from United Therapeutics, and 10 from the UPS, with an option for another 140. We are not talking about the military branch and especially Amazon, which as well He ran over a sum (not disclosed for now) in the startup.
I have a half idea that the hunt for Bezos supremacy also in the logistics sector it will continue with blows of an electric airplane. And much sooner than we think, less than a year and a half.
Yes sir: electric air transport is about to take off.