New Swedish electric-hybrid aircraft programme gathers pace with further airline support.
Swedish manufacturer Heart Aerospace has received a major boost after a further two carriers signalled their support for its ES-30 electric-hybrid airliner.
In near-simultaneous announcements on September 15, Air Canada revealed it has confirmed a purchase agreement for 30 examples of the new 30-seat aircraft, which supersedes Heart’s earlier 19-seat ES-19 concept – and will acquire a $5 million equity stake in the company. SAS Scandinavian Airlines has also signed a letter of support providing the option to acquire the new aircraft in the future.
Michael Rousseau, president and CEO of Air Canada commented: “We have taken a leadership position in the industry to address climate change. The introduction into our fleet of the ES-30 electric regional aircraft from Heart Aerospace will be a step forward to our goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Already, Air Canada is supporting the development of new technologies, such as sustainable aviation fuels and carbon capture, to address climate change. We are now reinforcing our commitment by investing in revolutionary electric aircraft technology, both as a customer for the ES-30 and as an equity partner in Heart Aerospace."
The carrier said the type, which will generate zero emissions while flying on battery power, will enable it to serve regional and commuter routes more sustainably. In Air Canada service, the ES-30 will feature a three-abreast 2-1 layout, along with a lavatory and galley.
Heart Aerospace founder and CEO Anders Forslund added: “Air Canada is a strategically important partner for Heart Aerospace. The company has one of the world's largest networks operated by regional turboprops, and it is also a progressive, future leaning company, especially in the green transmission. With the ES-30 we can start cutting emissions from air travel well before the end of this decade.”
SAS has also lent its support to the ES-30 programme which, it suggested, “has the potential of being a significant step on SAS’ sustainability journey, enabling zero-emission flights on routes within Scandinavia.” The airline will also join Heart Aerospace’s new industry advisory board and will assist in defining the requirements for the new type.
The Gothenburg-based manufacturer has now secured 96 commitments for the ES-30, many of which are updates of earlier letters of intent, including from Nordic carrier Braathens Regional Airlines (BRA), Icelandair, Sounds Air of New Zealand and Swedish lessor Rockton. United Airlines and Mesa Air Group’s conditional 300-aircraft deal, which includes 100 options, have also been reconfirmed for the updated ES-30 design.
The aircraft is expected to enter service in 2028 and will be powered by lithium-ion batteries with reserve-hybrid generators driven by sustainable aviation fuel that can be used to supplement battery power on longer flights. Fully loaded, it will have a purely electric range of 125 miles and an extended range of 250 miles – this can be increased up to 500 miles with 25 passengers. Charging time for the propliner is expected to be 30-to-50 minutes.