Earlier this month, EAG, a UK-based engineering and development company, presented what appears to be the world’s first hybrid electric airplane for regional fleets. It’s called the HERA, and with its ultra-low operating cost, whisper-quiet running, and room for up to 70 commercial passengers, the new concept promises to reinvigorate the sustainable mass transportation market.
EAG plans to have the HERA — for Hybrid Electric Regional Aircraft — in production and flying passengers by 2028, which will offer carriers short take-off-and-landing performance, a flexible cabin design for quick transformation between passenger and cargo configurations, and an operating range of 800 nautical miles.
It’s important to note that similarly sized “conventional” aircraft like the Mitsubishi Space Jet M100 or Embraer 175-E2 offer nearly twice as much range, but EAG CEO Kamran Iqbal thinks his company is on the right path with the HERA. “Significant investments have been raised to develop sub-19 seat hybrid and all-electric aircraft which we believe is the wrong strategy. These small planes cannot meet the demands of mass air transportation or the requirements of decarbonization,” explains Iqbal. Meanwhile, the HERA is aimed at not only offering a greener alternative for airlines, but at being a “practical aircraft, able to generate profit for its operators.”
Iqbal adds, “(EAG) will be a first mover in what is a $4.4 trillion market.”
Now, this isn’t my first rodeo with CleanTechnica, so I can already hear the “ICE bad! Only battery good!” comments. While I usually address these with “any positive change” comments, this time I won’t have to, because EAG has taken steps to help future-proof airlines’ investment in HERA by baking in “[the] ability to be transformed into all-electric aircraft and accommodate alternative energy sources …”
So, that’s something. Probably.
What do you guys think? Is the upcoming EAG HERA a temporary band-aid on the road to a battery-electric future in the sky, or is the development of a platform that’s able to accommodate a number of power options by design an idea whose time is here? Take a look at the pictures, then let us know what you think of this hybrid electric airplane concept in the comments.
EAG HERA | Hybrid Electric Airplane Concept
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