In an effort to create cleaner, quieter, and more affordable planes, Aviation company Ampaire is offering a better way to fly: with hybrid-electric aircraft.
Ordinary aircraft run on jet fuel, which is similar to gasoline and diesel and is decidedly not cheap. According to Simple Flying, fuel accounts for 20%-40% of all airline costs.
Every flight costs thousands of dollars in fuel — over $10,000 to cross from New York to Los Angeles and almost $30,000 to fly from New York to London. Airlines pass these costs on to passengers via rising ticket prices — and meanwhile, the huge engines of traditional aircraft make airports noisy, dirty places.
In addition, jet fuel releases heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide when burned. According to Our World in Data, air travel accounts for 2.5% of all carbon dioxide produced worldwide, even though only 20% of the Earth’s population uses airplanes. This is about six times more pollution than passengers would produce by driving the same distance, according to BBC News.
Ampaire is changing the game by installing its new AmpDrive electric system in existing aircraft. So far, its fleet contains the three-passenger Electric EEL, the 11-passenger Eco Caravan, and the 19-passenger Eco Otter. The company is also hard at work on developing the fully-electric Tailwind aircraft.
These hybrid aircraft rely on battery power for the majority of each flight, dramatically reducing the amount of fuel consumed. According to the Ampaire website, its hybrid planes use 10% of the fuel, make 40% of the noise, and require 50% of the maintenance that traditional planes do.
These changes increase comfort while decreasing costs for passengers. They even cut down on the carbon dioxide the planes produce for a much smaller environmental impact.
Ampaire is optimistic about bringing its eco-friendly technology to passengers soon.
“We will be the first to reach mass market with hybrid-electric technology, leading the industry to a sustainable future,” the company says on its website.
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