Maeve Aerospace unveils regional aircraft Maeve 01
Almost every day Maeve Aerospace’s founders are told: “Stop it guys. You can’t do this, this is only for Airbus or Boeing. Batteries, forget it.” But this only drives them on further.
Yesterday, the Dutch electric regional aviation startup unveiled its aircraft in development, Maeve 01. The first parts of the battery-powered aircraft will take to the air this year. But to fly the entire aircraft, Maeve “needs at least a billion euros,” said Joost Dieben, co-founder (pictured left below).
Dieben and his other co-founder and CEO Jan-Willem Heinen (pictured right below) saw the electrification wave coming when they were entrepreneurs in mobile charging infrastructure. Dieben is an aviation technologist and Heinen flies gliders. Betting that the technology would be mature enough for commercial aircraft by 2026. In 2020, the pair founded the startup as Venturi, later to be renamed Maeve.
“We ran 1,400 different types of aircraft configurations through our software program, even the most futuristic flying wings,” said Dieben. It turns out, the shape of the traditional aircraft turns out to be the most feasible business case. The Maeve 01 can carry 44 passengers and fly 550km (341 miles) on batteries. For shorter distances, such as Schiphol-Brussels, this can go up to 60 passengers.
“Batteries today are at the lower end of what aviation needs in terms of performance. They are just not strong enough. We have presented our case to airlines at home and abroad. They think our plane is an interesting entry-level model,” said Heinen. “Moreover, very high requirements are set for batteries in an aircraft. A battery that is at ninety percent of its original capacity is no longer good enough for aviation. Our aircraft will therefore need a new battery pack every year to a year and a half.”
Maeve has partnerships with parties from the Netherlands, Europe, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. All of which are in the process of securing reservations for the Maeve 01.
“No real orders have been received yet, we are now accelerating that. One collaboration that is allowed to communicate is with Rotterdam Airport about the charging infrastructure,” said Dieben. “We will build and test a proof of concept for charging aircraft there in 2024. We are already discussing this with a second airport.”
Maeve expects to be recognised as an aviation designer by EASA by the end of this year. Then it will start with the type certification process. “Our mission is to have a certified aircraft ready for production by the end of 2029,” said Heinen.