Test facilities are being offered with the support of the European Union-backed Green Flyway program.
- October 5, 2020
As of December 2019, Heart had a small team of seven engineers working on its ES-19 electric airliner and moved to a large hangar at Gothenburg's Säve Airport in September 2019. The airport was formerly Göteborg City Airport until 2015 when it was closed to commercial traffic due to damage to the runway that was deemed uneconomic to repair. It is still open to light aircraft.
Heart believes its conventional fixed-wing aircraft with aluminum fuselage will be relatively straightforward to certificate. With zero emissions, it is expected to deliver 75 percent lower energy costs than conventionally-fuelled aircraft, as well as 50 percent lower maintenance costs and 50 percent lower noise. These comparisons are based on current turboprop airliners such as the Dash 8, compared on a per-passenger basis and operating from a 2,460-foot runway.
FutureFlight assesses the probability of success for a new aircraft program by considering the following criteria:
This is a start-up company taking a low-risk approach, but still has a mountain to climb to certificate a new airliner with a new power source. However, it has seed funding already from EQT Ventures and letters of intent for orders from several of Scandinavia's main airlines. Having the ES-19 enter service in 2025 seems ambitious. Also, there is a risk that existing aircraft manufacturers such as ATR and Viking will launch similar projects that may seem more dependable options to operators.
One possibility is that Heart could form a joint venture with, or be acquired by, such a company and this would accelerate development, testing, and certification.
While zero emissions is the driver, the ES-19 is also designed to improve the economic viability of air transport service to remote regions. The ES-19 is a 19-seater, four-engine, high-wing airliner of aluminum airframe construction. Heart believes it can have a prototype flying by 2022 and achieve certification and entry-into-service in 2025.
According to founder Anders Forslund, the ES-19 will have a maximum takeoff weight of around 18,920 pounds (8,600 kg) and would be certificated under the EASA CS23 standard. Its batteries would weigh three metric tons and allow it to fly up to 250 miles (400km) with a 45-minute reserve.
Forslund says it will have the lowest carbon footprint of any regional air transport aircraft and is a scalable design. Heart also says it will offer a corporate version of the aircraft.