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1.5MW motors will power 186-seater electric plane

05 March, 2020

Wright Electric, the US aircraft developer which is designing an 186-seat all-electric passenger plane, has announced plans to develop a 1.5MW motor and 3kV inverter to power the craft. The UK-based budget airline EasyJet is partnering Wright in the project, which aims to put the plane, called Wright 1, into service from 2030.

Wright has also announced that it is working with BAE Systems to accelerate the development of key technologies needed for the zero-emission craft. BAE will focus on flight controls and energy management systems for the aircraft.

Wright plans to conduct ground tests on the new motor in 2021, before starting flight tests on an adapted aircraft in 2023. It will simultaneously be working on the aircraft’s fuselage to improve its aerodynamics.

Wright previewed its new motor at an event in New York in January. Several of the motors will be attached to each wing. The aircraft will be powered using swappable battery packs which will sustain it for flights of up to two hours. As well as eliminating emissions, Wright says that the planes will be cheaper to operate and will make less noise than conventional craft.

The Wright/EasyJet electric plane will be powered by 1.5MW motors and is due to enter service in 2030
Image: Wright Electric

Speaking at the event, the company’s CEO, Jeffrey Engler, said: “Wright Electric’s mission is to make commercial aviation greener, and our megawatt engine programme is the next step in making our mission a reality.”

Wright was founded in 2016 by a team of aerospace engineers, powertrain experts, and battery chemists.

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