The aviation company BETA Technologies has been working on developing eCTOL — electrically-powered conventional takeoff and landing aircraft. These developed from prototypes of the more advanced eVTOLs, which are electrically-powered planes that take off and land vertically instead of needing a runway, similar to a helicopter.
In the process of creating a prototype for eVTOL aircraft, BETA Technologies realized there was an interest in electrically-powered planes beyond just vertical takeoff and landing features. As a result, the company decided to get eCTOL planes, such as its CX300 model, certified as well.
BETA now has both eVTOL and eCTOL crafts on their way to approval, but the CX300 eCTOL model will make it there first because it mimics conventional planes. And in preparation for that certification process to be complete, BETA Technologies has announced that it is accepting orders for the CX300.
Why is this important?
On top of that, when dirty energy-based jet fuel is burned, it releases planet-warming gases — all in all, aviation is responsible for about 3.5% of rising temperatures. But electrically powered planes such as the CX300 could produce almost 90% less of these harmful gases.
For now, eCTOL and eVTOL aircraft will only be able to travel short distances. The batteries cannot hold enough charge to travel more than around 380 miles, but BETA Technologies is in the process of rolling out charging stations at more airports, making them a great option for short-distance travel.
There is still a long way to go in finding cheaper, climate-friendly options for aircraft, but getting eCTOL planes certified and in the air is a huge first step.
Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.