Cheap power means cheaper operations, says Jekta research
The cheaper the electricity the cheaper the electric regional air mobility operations, according to new research from Jekta.
The study has identified regions, like Africa, the Middle East and Asia where strong operating economics deliver potential for bringing regional air mobility to populations otherwise denied it through lack of infrastructure and high cost. Dubbed The Jekta Factor, the coefficient shows how variations in electricity cost are fundamental to the viability of all-electric aircraft.
Based on market analysis, the study compared the cost of specific hourly electricity consumption for Jekta’s PHA-ZE 100 electric flying boat, compared with specific hourly Jet A consumption for a turboprop of similar capability. The research also generated hourly operating costs per passenger on both aircraft types.
Jekta CEO and founder George Alafinov said: “Our vision for the PHA-ZE 100 is to deliver fully sustainable operations while leveraging the aircraft’s amphibious capability to usher in a new era in advanced regional air mobility. The aircraft satisfies an emerging demand and opportunity to operate to and from water, from water to land, and from land to water.”
Electricity is cheap compared to Jet A across much of Africa, the Middle East, the Arabian Gulf, India, and Asia, for example, where “Jekta Factors” greater than or equal to four are common. In these regions, powering electric aircraft is considerably cheaper, per passenger, versus fuelling a turboprop. Also in the case of Jekta’s PHA-ZE 100, regions with cheaper electricity also have sunshine hours compatible with it’s optional photo-voltaic charging station.
The results also show in regions with high electricity costs, including much of Europe, comparing the cost of electricity and Jet A results in a ratio less than or equal to one. This suggests airlines might struggle to operate electric regional aircraft profitably without government support, the study identified. However, electricity prices show considerably more regional variation than jet fuel, so where electricity is cheap, electric aircraft have a significant fuel cost advantage over conventional turboprops, it stated.
Alafinov added: “Now, the research we’ve embodied in The Jekta Factor shows how the PHA-ZE 100 delivers real-world savings on fuel costs in those regions where populations are denied air transport by high cost and lack of infrastructure. Our vision is to deliver zero-emissions at source regional air mobility and our mission is to provide operators with genuine, profitable alternatives to conventionally fuelled aircraft.”
Developing regions where cheap electricity and ready access to water combine with high aircraft fuel costs and limited supporting infrastructure are prime flying boat markets. India for example, where the firm has secured a 50-aircraft order from MEHAIR, is especially well placed for PHA-ZE 100 operations, said Jekta. Similar operations could be possible in parts of South America, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.