Electrification Poised to Disrupt the Aerospace Industry

January 28, 2019

The pace of startups jumping into the electric aviation market has accelerated rapidly in the past five years. To put this market rush into context, the team at Lux Research has released a new report that differentiates commercialization myth from reality. The new report, "The Future of Electric Aviation," examines the current landscape, remaining challenges, and market outlook for today’s electric aircraft and lays out the disruptive potential across the industry.

Lux's deep dive examines air taxis, flying cars, small regional aircraft, and commercial airliners, highlighting key players and commercialization timelines as well as technology advances and barriers. It also looks at the impact of regulations on growth and contextualizes how disruptive technologies will be on the existing aeronautical landscape.

"Over the past 20 years, electrification of the automotive and marine sectors has created growth opportunities for businesses throughout the energy industry," says said Chloe Holzinger, Senior Research Associate on the Energy Transition team at Lux and author of this report. "This year, many are having the same discussions about electrification of the aviation industry as the next big opportunity. Our take is that, while significant technical and regulatory challenges remain, electrification will truly disrupt significant segments of the aerospace industry."

Below are highlights of some challenges each market segment must overcome, along with Lux's take on the path to commercial success:

Air taxis and flying cars – The electric air taxi and flying car market will be the most difficult segment in which to succeed, as developers must overcome significant regulatory, safety, and technical barriers to growth.

Small regional planes – This segment is on the cusp of electrification, as regulations in both Europe and the U.S. allow for electrification, and current technologies are suitable for this application, meaning that this segment offers the highest and most immediate market growth opportunities.

Commercial airliners – Even when considering future innovative technologies in energy storage and power electronics, commercial airliners will never be fully battery electric, and it will be another 15 years before we even start to see mild hybridization of this segment.

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