French startup Aura Aero has announced the development of a 19-seater electric aircraft Electric Regional Aircraft (Era), which will be able to carry passengers between European cities in 2026.
According to La Tribune, the president of Aura Aero, Jérémy Caussade, announced this during a presentation on March 22 at Toulouse- Francazal airport in southern France.
Caussade said that the global race to electrify aviation has begun, and they are in the best place on Earth to participate in it. The startup plans to organize its first test flight on Era in 2024, and at the end of 2026, the company wants to start full-fledged regular flights in Europe.
According to plans, the electric plane will be able to cover about 480 kilometers without recharging. For comparison, the distance between French Lyon and Toulouse is just over 360 kilometers. Era will thus become an alternative to short intercity routes.
At the same time, Aura Aero plans to equip the aircraft with an additional jet engine in case the flight is delayed. However, the developers promise that this engine will emit 80% less harmful emissions into the atmosphere.
The project already has investments of 10 million euros. Aura Aero is preparing to attract an additional 40 million euros in investment in the summer of 2021. The project is also supported by the Occitania region's authorities, where the company's production facilities are located.
In addition, five European transport operators have already expressed interest in Era. And another French startup, Verkor, has struck an agreement to supply its lithium-ion batteries for the aircraft.
Aura Aero was founded in 2018 by former engineers of one of the world's largest French aircraft manufacturers Airbus. In July 2020, they already completed the first test of their Integral R aircraft. Its serial production will be set up at the plant in Francazal.