Electric Plane Brands: The Complete List, From Rolls-Royce To BETA
We can only imagine what those who called the Wright Brothers crazy might think given the number of electric plane brands there are today.
We’re having a hard time believing it too, having seen some of the product images/prototype concepts we’ve seen from some companies. Some work on parts alone, others build an entire project from the ground up — like Rolls-Royce, for example (more on them later). We’ll be covering all of them, regardless, on our complete list of electric flying brands!
It’s important to keep tabs on all of the electric flying vehicle brands you’ll find below. After all, they each have a direct impact on EV as a whole. Electric cars started the conversation, but electric aviation could be what takes it to new heights. Unless there’s an electric flying car on the horizon that is…
Electric Plane Brands
Helicopters, planes, seaplanes and jets have all stepped into the future, having received a rapid makeover with the introduction of electric-based technologies. Everything you’re about to read should come as no surprise to some, as the rise in electric transport was inevitable in the race to net-zero.
Ampaire: The American Electric Plane Company
Founder: Kevin Noertke
Headquarters: Hawthorne, CA, US
Ampaire, a California-based start-up, has its sights set on occupying the electric flight space. This electric plane company is currently working on a hybrid-electric plane, one that can transport as many as 6 people on trips of up to 100 miles!
An electric flying vehicle like the Ampaire Electric EEL lets you see the veins of any city at great heights. The EEL uses an electric propulsion system said to eliminate most noise (66% quieter), not to mention will cut fuel costs by around 90%.
Ampaire currently leads the 2ZERO programme, a programme that targets zero emissions across the electric flying space. The goal is to change the future of electric flight for the better. Notable members of the programme include Rolls-Royce, Loganair and the University of Nottingham.
The company will soon showcase the EEL in the UK under the Future Flight Challenge programme.
© Credit to BETA Technologies
BETA Technologies: Maker Of The ALIA-250C
Founder: Kyle Clark
Headquarters: Vermont, US
Primed for success, aviation brand BETA Technologies specialise in the development/manufacturing of advanced electric flight vehicles. The ALIA-250c is the result of 3 years in development, capable of seamless transitions between long-range flight and vertical landings.
BETA has two versions of the ALIA-250c in the works, one for cargo and one for passenger transport. ALIA’s development/progression has the success of the AVA aircraft to thank. BETA Technologies beta project, AVA, was a heavy prototype model capable of cross country flight.
BETA Technologies will work alongside leasing company Blade to develop a fleet of electric taxi craft, eyeing 2024 as a potential launch. They’ve also had a hand in developing re-charging stations for eVTOL aircraft made entirely from recycled shipping containers and reused batteries.
Plane Pick: ALIA-250c
Bye Aerospace: The Electric Plane Brand To Watch
Founder: George E. Bye
Headquarters: Denver, CO, US
Like the previous entry in the complete list of electric flying brands, Bye Aerospace is a start-up. This Colorado-based EV manufacturer is known, mostly, for the eFlyer 2, a 2-seat training model powered by electricity. Bye Aerospace’s eFlyer 2 and eFlyer 4 come equipped with 90-kW electric motors made by Siemens.
We recently covered details on the new Bye Aerospace craft, the eFlyer 800, their most ambitious electric flying vehicle to date. The eFlyer 800 will run on electric-sulfur batteries developed by UK outfitter Oxis Energy. According to founder George Bye, the 800 will only need around 30 minutes of charge to travel up to 500 nautical miles per charge.
It’s as clear as day; Bye Aerospace want to be considered a key name in the electric flight market. Could the eFlyer 800 contend with the infamous Beechcraft King Air? We’ll find out in a few years when it makes its grand debut.
Plane Pick: eFlyer 800
EasyJet: The Liner Looking To Go Green
Founder: Johan Lundgren
Headquarters: London, UK
Are electric commercial planes possible? Some flying companies think so. Budget airline easyJet has shown interest in the electric flying game, announcing plans in 2017 to work alongside Wright Electric to plan/execute an all-electric commercial liner for short-haul flights.
EasyJet hopes to fly up to 500km per trip, looking to cut 10% in carbon emissions by 2022. Cheap flights across Europe could receive an electric twist very soon. In 2020, the electric flying brand said it was working on electric systems strong enough to hold 186 passengers.
EasyJet’s interest in EV is an interesting one because it’s one of only a select few interested in electric growth. You’d think more commercial brands would make this a priority, unless they’re working on them in private waiting to see easyJet’s results?
Plane Pick: Wright 1
© Credit to Eviation
Eviation: An Electric Plane Pioneer
Founder: Omer Bar-Yohay
Headquarters: Washington, DC, US
Eviation is an Israeli start-up based in the US, a comment known for developing an all-electric commuter plane, code-named Alice. Eviation initially started turning heads at the 53rd International Paris Air show after unveiling Alice to the world.
Omer Bar-Yohay has described Alice as a “huge battery with some plane painted on it.” It’s an accurate assessment and an issue plaguing most electric flying companies. The battery on Alice only requires around three hours to charge fully, which is pretty impressive for a commuter.
Electric flight could change forever with Eviation at the helm; it’s part of what makes following their journey so exciting. Regional airline, Cape Air, has already secured a contract with Eviation on an undisclosed fee to shape the future of sky travel.
Plane Pick: Alice
FlyNano: Finland’s Finest In Electric Plane Development
Founder: Mika Suila
Headquarters: Helsinki, Finland
Say hello to FlyNano, a Finnish company focused more on the thrill of the ride over the transport side of things. We say that because they’re the brand responsible for a single-seat seaplane. Yes, you read that right, seaplane.
FlyNano announced the Nano craft in 2011. A prototype had its first flight in June 2012, giving FlyNano a decent push as far as awareness goes. Nano is made entirely from carbon fibre with a wingspan of 4.8 m, making it an ideal little craft.
FlyNano initially planned to launch multiple variations of the Nano but later scrapped all but the electric version. How much does a FlyNano cost? Anywhere up to around $40,000 (£28,500), depending on the seller/site, of course.
(Sea)Plane Pick: FlyNano Nano
Joby Aviation: The eVTOL Specialist
Founder: JoeBen Bevirt
Headquarters: Santa Cruz, CA, US
Joby Aviation intends to operate as an air taxi service once set up. Their current project, the Joby Aviation eVTOL, looks part plane, part helicopter, capable of reaching 150+ miles thanks to six electric motors. This electric flying vehicle is optimised for vertical take-off and landing, again highlighting those helicopter comparisons.
The current plan is to offer short-distance rides to airports and other key locations in major areas. Noise pollution is a cause for concern for most taxi craft, but this eVTOL is said to be 100x quieter than conventional aircraft.
Joby Aviation hopes to have complete app optimisation ready to roll once this electric flying vehicle launches, allowing riders to book quick flights from their smartphone. Uber of the skies has a ring to it, wouldn’t you agree?
Plane Pick: Joby Aviation eVTOL
Lilium: The Electric Plane-Maker Known For The Lilium Jet
Founder: Daniel Wiegand
Headquarters: Munich, Germany
The future has landed, or at least that’s the impression we get when looking at the progress made by Lilium, notably, the Lilium Jet. Unlike many electric flying vehicles, the Lilium Jet looks and feels like it’s from an alternate reality. Low noise and high performance, both key features on the Jet, have only helped push this brand’s name value.
How does it work? The Jet relies on a single “stage” rotor/stator system powered by an electric motor that emits zero emissions. Lilium has over 600 employees, 400 of those are aerospace engineers, all dedicated and motivated to change the electric flight game for good. You could call them pioneers if everything goes to plan.
Lilium is advancing how the world moves; their words, not ours, and who can really disagree with that notion? They’ve recently announced a partnership with Munich Airport and Airport Nürnberg to create a high-speed air mobility network in Bavaria.
Plane Pick: Lilium Jet
MagniX: A Battery Source For Other Manufacturers
Founder: Roei Ganzarski
Headquarters: Washington, DC, US
US brand magniX have an alternative approach when it comes to electric flight. They specialise in electric motor systems, the kind that powers some of the planes mentioned here. You see, the likes of Eviation source their batteries from companies like magniX. Why? Because batteries like the magni500 have a proven track record, as seen in the Beechcraft King Air, to give you a specific example.
Vancouver-based seaplane company Harbour Air works extensively with magniX to develop a new craft, an electric seaplane with tonnes of functionality. These seaplanes will have a range of around 100 miles which, if anything, is ideal. After all, seaplanes weren’t made for cross-country travel.
© Credit to NASA
NASA: Space And Sustainable Air Travel
Headquarters: Washington, DC, US
Known for space but have a vested interest in the electric aviation field, NASA is currently developing an all-electric plane called the X-57 Maxwell. Multiple iterations of the craft have existed, with the current model featuring 14 electric motors and propellors. It might look cumbersome, but NASA assures this is all necessary.
Moreover, NASA intends to share the results of the aircraft’s electric propulsion-focused design and airworthiness with regulators. They would then share the data with regulators to advance certification processes affecting other electric flight brands. In other words, NASA is forging a path for a lot of electric flying brands to get their projects out and in the air.
Plane Pick: X-57 Maxwell
Pipistrel: An Early Adopter Of Electric Flight
Founder: Ivo Boscarol
Headquarters: Ajdovščina, Slovenia
Older companies tend to be a lot wiser than most, case in point, Slovenian electric flying brand Pipistrel. History was made back in 2004 when Pipistrel released the world’s first 2-seat glider, named the Pipistrel Taurus. Three years later, Pipistrel released the world’s first all-electric 2-seat aircraft. In short, Pipistrel has established quite a reputation for design/innovation.
The Alpha Electro made by Pipistrel is a clear standout, although you could say the same about most of the planes in their inventory. For those that don’t know, it’s a 2-seat electric trainer made to be quiet, powerful, and above all else, carbon neutral.
Pipistrel has designed the Alpha Electro to be as light as possible to accommodate short-distance travel fit for flight schools. The 60+ kW electric motor weighs around 20kg, taking around an hour to charge fully from flat.
Plane Pick: Pipistrel Alpha Electro
Rolls-Royce: Fancy Cars And Electric Planes
Founder: Warren East
Headquarters: London, UK
Consider Rolls-Royce a jack of all trades of sorts, known for premium motor cars and the manufacturing of power systems for aviation purposes. In fact, Rolls Royce is the second-largest maker of aircraft engines in the world; first place belongs to General Electric.
Rolls-Royce is currently working on the fastest electric plane! The “Spirit of Innovation” aircraft can reach speeds of more than 300 mph. Who holds the record for the fastest electric plane? German manufacturer Extra Aircraft set the record in 2017 with its Extra 330LE, reaching a top speed of 213.04 mph.
How will this Rolls-Royce plane fair? We’ll find out later this year. When they aren’t setting records, they’re supplying jet engines to other companies; this includes the world’s largest passenger plane in the Airbus A380.
Rolls-Royce announced its involvement in the electric flying sector in 2019. This “Spirit of Innovation” aircraft is part of ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight), a government-funded programme in line with the UK’s plans to achieve net-zero by 2050.
Plane Pick: “Spirit of Innovation” Aircraft
Safran: Another Noteworthy Aerospace Supplier
Founder: Olivier Andriès
Headquarters: Paris, France
Aerospace supplier Safran has a lot to offer the world of electric aviation; after all, they do have a lot of experience in the field. Safran and magniX have a lot in common in that they outfit other companies with their all-electric/hybrid batteries. They have more than 92,000 employees across 12 different countries working for them.
Their range of ENGINeUS electric motors, in particular, helped them reach new heights in terms of the companies they now work with. For example, Safran’s ENGINeUS 45 were used in VoltAero’s Cassio 1 electric flying vehicle.
VoltAero: The Minds Behind the Cassio 330
Founder: Jean Botti
Headquarters: Médis, France
VoltAero is a start-up electric plane company hailing from Médis, France, backed by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Electric flying enthusiasts will know them as the name behind Cassio, a project they’ve been working on for quite some time now. Their electric planes promote safe, quiet, efficient and eco-friendly flights.
Know that multiple versions of Cassio are in the works. The Cassio 330 is a 4-seater plane expected to release sometime in 2022. Other versions of the Cassio will increase the passenger count with every iteration (up to 10 passengers), in addition to battery power (up to 600 kW).
Plane Pick: Cassio 330
Zunum Aero: A Future That’s Up In The Air
Founder: Ashish Kumar
Headquarters: Redmond, WA, US
Zunum Aero was once considered the leading electric plane brand in some circles; the Tesla of electric flying if you will. The company initially received massive funding ($6.2 million) from Boeing and JetBlue to build a 12-seater craft but would later run out of money.
Their goal is to tackle the emissions surrounding short-haul flights with a family of commercial hybrid-to-electric aircraft. Where they go from here is anyone’s guess as they continue to push for investment.
Electric Plane Brands: The Complete List, From Rolls-Royce To BETA
Electric aviation is an interesting one, perhaps more appealing than any other form of electric transport from a technical perspective alone. It’s why it pays to follow companies like magniX and Safran as they deal in batteries and other integral parts of certain aircraft.
New electric planes are announced/tested on a regular basis, so make sure you’re following us here at E4TP to keep in the loop. Who knows, maybe an electric flying car is possible? After all, the sky’s the limit when it comes to EV.
Check out our complete list of electric boat brands if you’d like to learn more about sea-related EVs.
Electric Flying FAQs
Still have questions about electric plane companies? No problem. In this final section, we’ll be covering a few frequently asked questions. The world of electric flying can feel like a whirlwind at times; we know.
Which is the best electric flying brand?
The answer to this question will constantly change as new innovations/companies come to light. Comparing these brands is difficult as they all offer something unique for the most part, although we do enjoy reading what Rolls-Royce are up to.
What is the fastest electric flying vehicle?
As mentioned above, ExtraCraft’s Extra 330LE currently holds the record for the fastest electric plane after hitting a max speed of 213.04 mph in 2017. Rolls-Royce will look to claim the top spot with their upcoming “Spirit of Innovation” electric aircraft.
Will electric planes be cheaper?
Smaller aircraft will definitely benefit from cheaper running costs as owners won’t need to pay for conventional fuel. It’s difficult to say right now, as a lot of the tech is still in its infancy. Most electric planes are noiseless though, that’s a good thing, right?
Will Tesla make a plane?
The possibility of a Tesla plane sounds incredibly optimistic given their status as an electric car company. Elon has Tweeted in the past supporting the idea of an electric jet, so who knows? Maybe a Tesla plane is possible.