Commercial electric aviation took a big step closer to reality this week with the announcement of a new industry campus at Säve airport, a secondary airport just outside Gothenburg, Sweden.
Driven by investment from Heart Aerospace, the campus named ‘Northern Runway’ will include offices, production and test flight facilities for electric aircraft. The first phase should be complete by 2024, with test flights beginning two years later.
Interest in electric aviation is taking off
Heart Aerospace has announced several electric aircraft designs in recent years and has received investment, letters of intent and letters of support from major airlines including Air Canada and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).
Currently in the spotlight is the 30-seat ES-30. With an all-electric range of 200km (124 miles) and a hybrid range of 400km (248 miles), it has attracted interest from airlines operating in markets with a big demand for regional aviation.
Air Canada likes the concept so much it has invested $5 million into the company and placed a purchase order for 30 of the new ES-30 aircraft. SAS has also confirmed its interest in the model.
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Founder and CEO Anders Forslund said the new project is about much more than developing one aircraft: “We have a plan and it’s not just to build a new electric airplane, but a whole new industry. With Northern Runway we will make electric air travel a reality and preserve flying for future generations.”
A new industry for Gothenburg
Heart’s choice of Sweden’s second biggest city for its new campus is no surprise as the company is already based there. The Northern Runway concept will form part of a wider development area for sustainable logistics and electric mobility named Gateway Säve.
Heart COO Sofia Graflund said the city has “distinguished itself” in the emerging area of electrification, pointing out the world-class research facilities in battery technology and electrification. Gothenburg is also widely known in city planning circles as one of the world’s most sustainable cities.
The company expects its new facility to stimulate new jobs and plans on growing from 130 employees today to approximately 500 by 2025.