Once you conquer the ground, you have to reach for the stars. At least that’s the idea, right? In Norway’s case, it goes like this: since the country has made such great strides towards becoming oil and fossil free when it comes to cars, the next logical step would be to look at other means of transport. Look up in the sky, that is.
Electric vehicles are becoming less and less of a novelty, as time goes by. And although Norway is leading the race when it comes to the quota of electric cars on the road, a few other countries have been making great progress as well. Only recently, Sweden became the first country in Scandinavia to usher in the electric, self-driving buses, a technology that has already been tested in other countries like Germany and Estonia.
But electric airplanes? That’s certainly a concept the average traveller would associate more with a sci-fi film than with their boarding flight. And yet, it’s not that far from becoming reality: according to the chief executive of Avinor, the company which operates Norwegian airports, the goal is that all of Norway’s short-haul flights are entirely electric by 2040. ‘Short-haul,’ being the key-word: for now, only flights lasting no more than 1,5 hours will be able to be operated by an aircraft that’s completely electric. But that’s no small feat either, as it covers all the flights between Norway’s major cities (Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim) as well as flights from Oslo to Stockholm and Copenhagen — both destinations are just 1 hour and 10 minutes away from the Norwegian capital. After that, presumably, a plane has gotta charge.
One of the benefits of electric air travel? Noise pollution will decrease by at least half — it’s going to be much quieter in the skies from now on. And speaking of pollution: official statistics claim that 2.4 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in Norway are due to air travel in domestic flights — and more than double that amount if you add the international flights as well. Not discounting the fact that this move will also halve the operating cost of the aircraft… So, looks like it’s a win-win-win situation. Why hasn’t the switch happened already?
Unfortunately, the technology for the switch is not 100 percent there yet. According to Avinor, for now they are focusing on using intermediary solutions like biofuels and hybrid fuel-electric models. The hybrid model they’re working on will be created in partnership with Rolls Royce and Siemens — and is planned to take flight in 2020. If all goes according to plan after that, the atmosphere soon will be electric.