Malmö Airport in southern Sweden is to be used as a test site for Heart Aerospace’s ES-30 hybrid-electric airliner. Airports group Swedavia said the facility will be used to conduct taxiing and charging tests using a full-scale model of the 30-seat aircraft as part of the third stage of Sweden’s Elise project to support a transition to electric and hydrogen-powered aviation.
Under an agreement announced late on July 7, the latest phase of Elise is backed by a new SEK 20 million ($1.9 million) grant from Swedish innovation agency Vinnova. The project will also involve airlines SAS and Braathens, as well as Swedish battery developer Northvolt.
Initial work started in May and will run through April 2025, with the full-scale model ES-30 expected to arrive in Malmö at a later date. Heart Aerospace is building the model at its headquarters in Gothenburg. It will use a separate full-scale prototype when it begins flight testing in 2026 as it works towards planned type certification and service entry in 2028.
The Elise project started in 2018 with the expressed intention of supporting the development of a Swedish-made electric aircraft. Heart Aerospace started this process when it was founded in 2018 with its plans for an all-electric ES-19 airliner. Then in September 2022, the company said that feedback from prospective airline customers had prompted it to switch to a plan for a larger aircraft with a hybrid-electric propulsion system, including a pair of turbogenerators and four electric motors, to support longer-range flights.
Hybrid-Power Means Longer Range For Regional Airline Flights
The ES-30 model is expected to offer operators an all-electric range of 200 km (125 miles), with an extended full-payload range of twice that distance and the potential for longer hybrid-powered flights to 800 km (500 miles) with 25 passengers on board, taking account of standard airline fuel reserves. Prospective customers for the aircraft include Air Canada, United Airlines, Icelandair, Braathens, SAS, New Zealand-based Sounds Air, and Sweden-based leasing group Rockton.
Other organizations involved in the Elise project include Swedish regional airports trade organization Sveriges Regionala Flygplatser, the Research Institutes of Sweden, Bromma Air Maintenance, and Sweden’s civil aviation administration and transport agency. Swedavia has previously conducted a case study for electric aircraft to operate between other airports in its network, including Umeå and Åre Östersund, and electric charging stations have already been installed there in addition to Visby Airport.
Heart Aerospace, which has established an electric aviation development hub at Gothenburg’s Säve Airport, is also working with BAE Systems on longer-term plans for the ES-30’s battery system. Other program partners now include avionics supplier Garmin, aerostructures specialist Aernnova, and Swedish aerospace group Saab.