Sweden’s Heart Switches To 30-Seat Electric Regional, Adds Investors
Swedish startup Heart Aerospace has redesigned its planned electric regional airliner as a 30-seater, up from 19 seats, and secured minority investments from Air Canada and Saab.
The Canadian carrier has also placed a pre-order for 30 of the aircraft, now called the ES-30.
Service entry has been pushed back two years, to 2028. United Airlines and Mesa Air Group, which invested in Heart’s $35 million Series fundraising round in July 2021, have reconfirmed their preorders for a total of 200 aircraft and options for an another 100, now for the larger ES-30.
In another major design change, the ES-30 will now include a reserve-hybrid system to meet regulatory requirements for flight reserves without cannibalizing battery capacity. The system will comprise two turbogenerators burning sustainable aviation fuel.
The aircraft will have a fully electric range of just 200 km (125 mi.) with 30 passengers, but the reserve-hybrid system can also be used as a range extender, increasing this to 400 km with typical airline reserves, Heart says. With 25 passengers, the maximum range is 800 km.
Heart revealed in June it had shifted to European CS-25 transport-category certification from the CS-23 commuter-aircraft certification planned for the original 19-seat ES-19 to reduce regulatory risk and expand the potential market. The company did not detail the design changes.
“The ES-30 is an electric airplane that the industry can use. We have designed a cost-efficient airplane that allows airlines to deliver good service on a wide range of routes,” Heart founder and CEO Anders Forslund said in a statement.
Where the ES-19 design was unpressurized, the larger ES-30 is pressurized and has three-abreast flat-floor seating with a galley, toilet, overhead bins and cabin stowage in addition to an external baggage and cargo compartment, providing flexibility, Heart says.
In addition to Air Canada, which operates a large regional turboprop network, Swedish-based lessor Rockton has signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 40 aircraft. Heart already holds LOIs from Nordic carriers Braathens Regional Airlines, Icelandair and SAS as well as New Zealand’s Sounds Air.
Air Canada and other LOI holders, as well as lessors and airports, have joined a 21-member industry advisory board formed by Heart to assist in defining the requirements for the ES-30.
The Canadian airline and Swedish aerospace company Saab have each invested $5 million in Heart, which is to build office, flight-test and production facilities at its current base of Save Airport in Gothenburg, Sweden, creating a new campus called Northern Runway.
The campus will form part of Gateway Save, where Nordic property developer Castellum plans to create a site dedicated to sustainable logistics and electric mobility. The SEEL Swedish Electric Transport Laboratory is establishing a test center for electromobility at the site.
The first phase of Heart Northern Runway campus is planned to be finalized by mid-2024, with test flights of the ES-30 scheduled to begin in 2026.