Heart Aerospace, a company building a 19-seater electric airplane, has raised a $35M Series A round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, United Airlines Ventures and Mesa Air Group Inc. As part of the agreement, United and Mesa have together placed purchase orders, subject to terms, for 200 aircraft, the ES-19, with options for an additional 100 planes.
Heart Aerospace’s ES-19 is a nineteen passenger regional airplane driven entirely by batteries and electric motors. The first-generation aircraft will have a maximum range of up to 400 km (250 miles), using today’s lithium-ion batteries. The company anticipates delivering the first ES-19 for commercial use by 2026.
”I can’t imagine a stronger coalition of partners to advance our mission to electrify short-haul air travel”, said Anders Forslund, CEO of Heart Aerospace. “There’s BEV – the world’s most influential climate fund. There’s United – one of the world’s largest airlines, who’s poised to be the global leader in decarbonising air travel, and there’s Mesa, the largest operator of 19-seater aircraft in history. This combination of near-term commercial viability and long-term climate investment philosophy is exactly what we need to make commercial electric air travel a reality”.
With this new agreement, United Airlines is committing to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050 without relying on traditional carbon offsets, as well as enabling the growth of Heart Aerospace and participating in the development of aircraft that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flying altogether.
“Aviation is such a critical piece of our global economy. At the same time, it’s a major source of carbon emissions and one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonize”, said Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “We believe electric aircraft can be transformational in reducing the emissions of the industry, and enable low cost, quiet and clean regional travel on a broad scale.
Heart’s visionary team is developing an aircraft around its proprietary electric propulsion technology that will allow airlines to operate at a fraction of the cost of today and has the potential to change the way we fly”.
Mesa is one of the largest independent regional airlines in the USA and in the 1990s, was the world’s largest operator of 19-seat aircraft. Over the past 30 years, as the economics of operating 19-seat aircraft became unprofitable, operators exited markets and over 1,500 nineteen seat passenger aircraft have been retired. The company says the reduced operating costs of the ES-19 aircraft holds the “promise of revitalizing travel options that are currently not economically viable with traditional aircraft”.
“We are proud to work with United and Heart to launch the world’s first electric, regional aircraft. Mesa intends to continue its expansion through the introduction of revolutionary technology that benefits our passengers and the environment. We are delighted to build upon our relationship with United through our joint investment in Heart”, said Jonathan Ornstein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
“These technological innovations are good for the environment, will expand the national transportation system, and provide significant growth opportunities for Mesa. We look forward to reconnecting with communities and passengers we previously served”.
You can find more information about Heart Aerospace and its electric airplane on its website.
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