ImpactAlpha, July 15 – Mainstream air carriers are getting on board latest hot topic in the decarbonization race: electric airplanes (see, “Zero-carbon air travel takes flight with a wave of new investments”).
United Airlines and regional carrier Mesa Airlines, alongside Breakthrough Energy Ventures, have backed Sweden’s Heart Aerospace to build a 19-seat electric plane capable of flying 250 miles. Heart raised a total of $35 million; investors included EQT Ventures and Lowercarbon Capital, TechCrunch reported.
United and Mesa each agreed to buy 100 of Heart’s aircraft. United has pledged to cut its emissions by 100% by 2050 without relying on offsets.
Heart Aerospace is targeting a 2026 launch for its airplane. Hydrogen-electric airplane developer ZeroAvia, which has backing from British Airways, and Universal Hydrogen, which is retrofitting commercial aircraft with hydrogen-based powertrains, have similar timelines. The venture arms of Airbus and JetBlue invested in Universal Hydrogen.
Other low- and no-carbon aircraft startups include Regent Craft and BETA Technologies, which has a partnership with the U.S. Air Force.