Bye Aerospace has announced an eight-seat all-electric twin turbo-prop aircraft, the eFlyer 800, to compete with existing turboprops such as the nine-seater King Air. However, the company claims the e800 Flyer will have “only one-fifth the operating costs of traditional twin turboprops and is geared for the air taxi, air cargo, regional and charter aircraft markets”.
Bye Aerospace CEO, George Bye, said the reduction in cost is due to the electric propulsion system and battery technology which results in “significantly higher energy densities”.
The company estimates a cruise speed of 320 knots, a 35,000-feet ceiling and 500 nm range with 45-minute IFR reserves at normal cruise speed of 280 knots. Bye expects the aircraft to be in commercial service between late 2024 and 2026, according to Forbes.
Bye Aerospace and Safran will assess which electric powertrain is most effective for the eFlyer 800.
The eFlyer 800 will feature new lithium-sulphur batteries by UK-based Oxis Energy. Bye is hoping to achieve a battery recharge time of 30 minutes at the latest.
According to Oxis, the energy and energy density of the batteries could be 550 Wh/kg (watt-hour per kilogram) and 700 Wh/L by late 2023, and then to 600 Wh/kg and 900 Wh/L by 2026.
Bye Aerospace’s two- and four-seater aircraft, the eFlyer 2 and eFlyer 4, are already being developed and tested using Safran motors.
Bye Aerospace is in the process of obtaining FAA Part-23 certification for the eFlyer 2 for the professional flight training mission and the four-seat eFlyer 4 for air taxi, cargo and advanced training uses.
“Safran product lines with the ENGINeUS motors, rated from 50kW to 500kW/1MW and GENeUSGRID systems, perfectly fit with the Bye Aerospace portfolio of e-aircraft,” said Hervé Blanc, executive vice president and general manager power with Safran Electrical & Power.
Bye said eFlyer 800 customer deposit agreements are complete and several are being developed with US and European air taxi, air cargo and air charter services. “Details about those agreements will be announced soon, and as they are finalised,” he said.
Bye said the price of the eFlyer 800 will be comparable to that of the King Air 260, which sells at about $6m.
Other benefits include no CO2 emissions and decreased noise, the company said. Bye Aerospace estimates the eFlyer will eventually eliminate the release of millions of metric tons of CO2 each year as its deliveries begin and the general aviation fleet is replaced.
Additional potential features include emergency auto-landing system, intelligent algorithm ensuring envelope protection, terrain avoidance and routing for emergency auto-land, and also an option for supplemental power solar cells and in-wheel electric taxi.