Heart Aerospace presented the ES-19 as one of the first all-electric airliners when the company launched in 2018. The Swedish startup has engineering veterans from over 70 aircraft programs including the Bombardier CSeries, the HondaJet and Zunum Aero, another electric commercial aircraft startup. Today they revealed some new information about how the development is going and what we can expect. The company recently got a €2.5 million ($2.9 million) grant from the Green Deal Accelerator Program by the European Innovation Council, a program meant to support startups and SMEs in developing and scaling breakthrough innovations and meant to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030.
Four seven-blade propellers are driven by four electric motors on a high wing, with power drawn from automotive industry batteries. The airframe is made of lightweight aluminum. The ES-19 will carry 19 passengers over 400km (250mi), although Heart expects this range to go up to 2,000km (1,240mi) as the electric propulsion technology improves. The aircraft cruises at 180kts but can fly up to 215kts. With zero emissions, a low noise-signature and needing only a 750m runway, the ES-19 opens doors to using more local, smaller airports to reduce door-to-door travel time.
The aircraft will be certified according to EASA CS-23 and Heart hopes to have the electric airliner in commercial service in 2025. To that end, they intend to fly a 1/5 scale demonstrator by the end of 2020, and a full-scale prototype ready for test flights by mid-2024.
Scandinavia is a front runner in the pursuit to adopt electric aviation. Sweden is committed to making all domestic flights fossil-fuel-free by 2030. Norway wants all domestic flights to be flown by electric aircraft by 2040. If Heart achieves its goal of 2,000km (1,240mi) range, it says it can cover 85% of worldwide departures. Those 85% of flights combined account for 43% of carbon dioxide emissions today. The company says these short-haul flights are where electric aircraft are the solution.
Because electric aircraft will be affordable to maintain, maintenance costs will drop by 90% as compared to turboprops. Inspections will also be easier due to intelligent electronic monitoring. Fuel costs are expected to go down 50-75%.
Heart has secured letters of intent from eight airlines for a total of 147 aircraft. All these potential offers combined have a value of €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion). The airlines hail from Europe, North America and Asia and include SAS, Braathens and Wideroe in Scandinavia, Air Greenland, Sounds Air in New Zealand, Pascan in Quebec, Quantum Air in California, and the British micro-commuter startup CityClipper.