At The Paris Air Show, An Electric Regional Developer Highlights Progress

LE BOURGET—This year, more startups are presenting their plans to develop electric regional aircraft at the Paris Air Show, despite the energy storage limitations of batteries.

French startup Air reported extra clients here for its arranged 19-seat crossover electric Time, Netherlands-based Maeve Aviation appeared its 44-seat, all-electric Maeve-01 and Wichita-based The Airplane Organization got the fight together with its 30-seat, mixture electric SJ30Y Pangea.

They are one of a growing number of new electric regional aircraft startups. Others include the four-passenger Electron 5 from UK/Dutch Electron Aircraft, the nine-passenger Microliner from Vaeridion in Germany, and the hybrid-electric ES-30 from Heart Aerospace in Sweden.

At the show, Toulouse-based Aura Aero and a Philippine regional airline signed a memorandum of understanding for three ERAs that can carry 19 passengers or 1,900 kg (4,200 lb.) of cargo up to 1,600 kilometers Elit’Avia, a private aviation provider based in Malta, increased the number of aircraft in its existing letter of intent to 28.

After completing the Maeve-01’s conceptual design, the Dutch startup has chosen Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio to create a digital replica of the aircraft for the following phase of the program, where the company plans to construct a full-scale powertrain demonstrator, complete with electric motor and battery pack.

According to co-founder Joost Dieben, the startup intends to operate the full-scale powertrain by mid-2024, aiming for service entry by 2030. Maeve was selected in December to receive a potential €17.5 million ($19.1 million) from the European Innovation Council. At this point, she is working to raise the necessary funds to match that amount.

Using batteries with an energy density of 500 Wh/kg, the startup expects the Maeve-01 to have a range of 460 km, compared to only 300 Wh/kg for lithium-ion batteries today. Amprius, a manufacturer of silicon-anode batteries, has revealed that it is developing a 500 Wh/kg cell. The business collaborates with Amprius.

The AirCraft Company, based in Wichita, plans to put its SY30J Pangea into service in 2019. With a pack-level energy density of 350 Wh/kg, the startup hopes to achieve an all-electric range of 400 km. According to CEO Mario Asselin, an extender will raise this to 800 kilometers.

According to co-CEO Sylvie St-Georges, the SY30J has seats that are 20 inches wide, making it one of a kind because it was designed with passengers in the United States in mind. Additionally, the cabin has a wheelchair-accessible restroom, a wider aisle, and a first-row seat row to make it easier for passengers with limited mobility to get around.

Asselin, a Wichita-based aviation services company, is the parent company of The AirCraft Company. According to Asselin, the company has completed conceptual design, self-funded work on the Pangea, and is beginning supplier selection. He and St-Georges were engineers at Bombardier.

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