“The major aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus have already invested in the electric aircraft and are planning to start their commercial production by 2025”
In this report, Technavio covers the market outlook and growth prospects of the global light electric aircraft market for 2016-2020. The market is divided into two segments: manned and unmanned aircraft. The manned aircraft segment accounted for approximately 62% of the market share in 2015.
“The major aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus have already invested in the electric aircraft and are planning to start their commercial production by 2025,” says Avimanyu Basu, a lead commercial aviation research expert from Technavio.
Technavio’s aerospace and defense research analysts segment the global light electric aircraft market into the following regions:
In 2015, with a market share of 52%, the Americas emerged as the market leader in the global light electric aircraft market, followed by EMEA with 32% and APAC with 16%.
Americas: largest market for light electric aircraft
The light electric aircraft market in the Americas is expected to witness steady growth rate with several investments being made in battery technologies and development of light components used in aircraft. For instance, Boeing is supporting a project that involves the addition of lithium batteries and a 200-pound hydrogen fuel cell to the Diamond HK36 motor gliders, enabling eco-friendly operations. These will replace the conventionally used 80 hp Rotax engine in the gliders.
Government organizations such as NASA are focusing on the development of efficient power systems in aircraft. Also with increasing support from big multi-national companies, several smaller companies are developing new aircraft which will drive market growth during the forecast period.
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EMEA: intensive R&D to boost market growth
Intensive research in the fields of electric motors, solar power, and biofuels is taking place in Europe with an aim to meet stringent regulations and reduce carbon emissions. Researchers are also working toward building high-performance gliders that mainly target the recreational flyers. For instance, Pipistrel in Slovenia manufactured the Taurus Electro G2, which is one of the world’s earlier electric airplanes in production. Similarly, in Germany, a new electric aircraft project called the e-Genius is under development. It is a two-seat motor glider powered by a 60-kW powertrain that has secured financial and technical assistance from Airbus.
In 2015, Airbus announced the plans to start the manufacturing of electric-powered planes from 2018. The company is building a final assembly line for their Airbus E-Fan aircraft in Pau, France. It is mainly targeting the flight schools and civil aviation communities with its E-Fan airplanes. Such light electric aircraft can also be effectually employed in Africa where is it inconvenient to survey real estate due to the absence of proper roadway or railway infrastructure.
APAC: enhanced capabilities in battery technology to fuel growth
In December 2015, the RX1E aircraft was approved for production in China. The aircraft is powered by rechargeable lithium batteries and can fly for 45-60 minutes on a 90-minute charging.
“This aircraft and similar developments will mainly cater to pilot training activities in the region and sightseeing for tourists,” says Avimanyu.
Battery and fuel cells market directly influences the development of the electric aircrafts, therefore, it is expected that regions such as APAC which have enhanced capabilities in battery technologies will have an upper hand over other economies. In fact, many American companies are outsourcing their battery manufacturing business to Asian countries. This is a major reason for the expected significant surge in the commercial aircraft battery market in APAC.
The top vendors in the global light electric aircraft market as highlighted in this market research analysis are:
- Electric Aircraft
- Solar Impulse
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