A couple of weeks ago, I told you how Siemens (OTCBB: SIEGY) and Airbus (OTCBB: EADSY) were developing electric planes that’ll one day make jet fuel nearly obsolete.
Then this week, I showed you a picture of a new electric plane that’s being funded by JetBlu (NASDAQ: JBLU). They’re hoping to use this thing in a few years for short, regional flights.
Although few are really talking about it, electric planes are definitely in that “next big thing” category.
Truth is, electric planes are where electric cars were just ten years ago: Mostly just testing vehicles and a lot of excitement, but with a boatload of potential.
Unlike the electric vehicle market, however, I don’t see the major airlines dragging their feet on this. The old guard auto makers could’ve made viable electric cars decades ago, but they chose not to. They didn’t want to. There was no incentive to do so.
But for the airlines, there’s a huge incentive – massive reductions in operational costs.
The dream of flying airplanes without jet fuel is a dream that every airline CEO can get behind. Talk about a huge cost savings!
Of course, we’re still in the earliest stages, which means we’re always looking for any new development to latch onto. And today, I have one for you.
As reported by CBS News, just a few weeks ago, an electric plane using a Siemens electric motor reached a record-setting speed of just under 210 mph. Then the next day, it set another record by becoming the world’s first electric aircraft to tow a glider.
This particular aircraft, called the Extra 330LE is, however, just one of a handful of new electric plane designs being developed and tested. The race is clearly underway, and now it’s a matter of trying to figure out which company will be first to the table with something tangible.
Which company that will be, I have no idea. But what I do know is that the first airline to start running these things is going to see a new “fueling” paradigm that will allow it to strengthen margins and increase profitability.
Siemens head of eAircraft, Frank Anton, says his company expects to see electric planes carrying up to 100 passengers by 2030. I bet it happens before that.