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Fortum taps into Finland’s electric aviation

A Pipistrel Alpha Electro

Pipistrel Alpha Electro is the first serial produced electric airplane purchased in Finland

Fortum is taking part in the Helsinki Electric Airplane Association’s project that is testing an electrically-powered airplane. The Pipistrel Alpha Electro will take its maiden flight on July 31, 2018 at 10 am at the Helsinki-Malmi Airport.

“We believe that the electrification of transportation is one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. We have been a pioneer in the development and expansion of the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in the Nordic countries. Now we want to apply the experience we’ve gained about the EV charging infrastructure in the development of the rapidly evolving electric aviation,” says Fortum chief technology officer Heli Antila.

The use of electricity in aviation reduces emissions into the atmosphere and noise around airports. The solution is to use fully electric motors in small airplanes and hybrid technology in bigger passenger airplanes.

“By participating in this first electric airplane project in Finland, we will gain valuable knowledge about the charging of electric airplane batteries, battery life and power consumption during the different phases of flying. We can apply this information in the development and building of the aviation infrastructure,” said project manager Tapio Poutiainen from Fortum.

The Pipistrel Alpha Electro electric airplane will help collecting valuable research data and will also make pilot training more affordable.

“Because an electric airplane is cheaper to use compared to conventional airplanes, it enables more people to enrol in flight school – those who are enthusiasts or those who are dreaming of a piloting career. Based on some estimates, the use of an electric airplane in flight school could decrease the cost of the training by up to one third,” says Janne Vasama from the Helsinki Electric Airplane Association.

Pipistrel is a partner of Uber Elevate, the ride-sharing app’s dedicated aircraft wing. Pipistrel previously revealed an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) concept that provide family-sized, city-based air transport.

 

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