According to a study conducted by NASA last year, powering aircraft using electric batteries would result in considerable fuel savings as an electric motor uses 90% of the energy it gets from batteries to turn propellers in comparison to jet or piston propulsion where half to two-thirds of the energy is expelled via the nozzle.
Electric aviation also means fewer hours of scheduled maintenance because gasoline motors need to be overhauled 10 times more frequently than electric (every 2,000 hours versus 20,000). That said, electric aviation isn’t without its share of hiccups. Batteries are heavy and the concept of weight is paramount in all aviation hence, the first electric planes could ideally be expected for small commuter flights.
Sustainable travel has been the go-to mantra for all entities in aviation and ever since the ambitious net-zero emission goal by 2050 was realised, a strong focus has been laid to reduce dependence on traditional aviation fuel, thereby slashing C02 emissions.
Maeve Aerospace, formerly known as Venturi Aviation, is a Netherlands-based startup company, that has reportedly secured funding of €3.4 million ($3.6 million) for the development of its all-electric aircraft- the “Maeve 01”.
The all-electric, zero-emissions “Maeve 01”
Touted to be the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft for the mainstream aviation market, the Maeve can seat 44 and has a maximum flight range of up to 550 km (340 miles).
The company’s focus had been on exploring the feasibility and viability of electric aviation up until now. With the funding secured, it can now progress on to further developing the core technology behind electric flying, such as the battery system. Additionally, this would also enable it to start building its maiden prototypes.
The time of planning is behind us. We are now progressing in development of the core technology needed in any future electric aircraft – a portable, lightweight and safe battery pack. With this technology, we will be able to make an impact in aviationsaid Maeve Aerospace co-founder and COO- Joost Dieben
According to the information given on the official website, Maeve 01 leverages all advantages that all-electric drive systems offer. The cost per drive unit is touted to be much lower when compared to turboprop engines, thereby offering unparalleled redundancy and safety.
Maintenance is minimized with just a few moving parts, while noise is reduced to a minimum, allowing take-off at noise-constrained airports.
How is it optimized to carry the weight of a large battery pack?
Maeve 01 reportedly operates 5 times per day hence battery replacement is expected to happen every 1.5 years of operation, as State-of-Health drops below 90%. Utilizing a unique replacement technology, replacement takes within regular C-Check intervals. Maeve 01 is therefore upgraded every 1.5 years with more advanced batteries and increased range.
The company’s “Maeve Recharge” allows operators to charge Maeve 01 within 35 minutes. Maeve actively monitors charging operation and therefore guarantees successful charging at the destination, allowing airlines to focus on their core expertise: flying.
On arrival, robotized charging starts instantly. Integrated into a single module, a Maeve fast-charging system requires no more than the footprint of a 30-ft container.
Specifications and performance
44 ex-crew (2-1 abreast)
Maeve 01 charges with up to 9 MW of power. Grid overload is prevented as re-used Maeve 01 battery modules assist in providing power. The Maeve ReCharge is touted to run on 100% sustainable energy at a low price per kWh.
The rate of advancements in battery technology is an area that we feel that we can start capitalizing on very soonThe company’s co-founder and CEO, Jan Willem Heinen, explained
Electric flying does not emit any CO2 or NOx, reduces noise pollution by -40% and is ultimately cheaper to operate-adds Heinen
The company aims to have the aircraft in the skies by 2028 and for this, it is expanding its team to 24 employees and is looking to expand to future locations outside its main base in Delft, the Netherlands.
COVER: Scramble (NL)