The startup Vaeridion from Munich wants to build small electric airplanes with space for two pilots and nine passengers. In contrast to the numerous electric vertical take-off concepts, Vaeridion’s electric aircraft is designed to take off and land like an ordinary airplane.
The plans are in the very early stages. Still, the ambitions are high: “In a few years, we will be the largest electric airplane company in Europe,” co-founder Ivor van Dartel told the German newspaper Handelsblatt.
According to the company’s website, the micro airplane is designed for regional use and should be able to fly passengers and crew over a distance of up to 500 kilometers. It is expected to begin flight operations by 2030.
The inspiration for the electric aircraft came from gliders. The wings with a high aspect ratio are to ensure minimal air resistance and a high glide ratio. To further optimize weight and thus travel distance, the batteries were also integrated there and not in the fuselage.
The two founders are aerospace engineers who only quit their jobs at Airbus and ZF, respectively, in September. Ivor van Dartel (38) and Sebastian Seemann (39) then founded their own company and have since been able to raise € 3,2 million in venture capital. They are currently in the process of hiring their first 15 employees, according to the same Handelsblatt.
Vaeridion is not the only company looking at electric solutions for aviation. Just recently, Bavarian electric air taxi startup Lilium entered into a partnership with Honeywell and Denso to jointly develop and produce the electric motor for the Lilium Jet, whose market launch has been pushed back to 2025.
Air Mobility Initiative
To advance the development of electric air transport, a number of companies, universities, research institutions, municipalities, and organizations joined forces a few weeks ago to form the Air Mobility Initiative (AMI).
The initiative, funded by the Free State of Bavaria and the Federal Republic of Germany, wants to set up a series of research projects in ‘electric aircraft”, ‘air traffic management, and ‘vertiport’.
Beta Technologies, the US developer of electric aircraft, has reportedly raised US$375 million from investors in its latest Series B funding round. Beta plans to use the funds to further develop its electric aerial system.
Battery-electric propulsion systems are already being used in training aircraft and short flights. Beyond 40-seat planes, hydrogen fuel cells are considered the more established technology for longer, larger flights. Commercial passenger aviation is regarded as a so-called hard-to-decarbonize sector.