Lindbergh and VerdeGo Aero: Powering the electric flight revolution
Charles A. Lindbergh ushered in the golden era of aviation with his 1927 New York to Paris flight. 75 years later Erik Lindbergh got the XPRIZE launched as he retraced his famous grandfather’s flight in order to jump-start the private spaceflight industry. SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are now offering commercial flights into space. That disruptive mission accomplished, Erik is leading another revolution with his company VerdeGo Aero – this time in electric flight. Join Erik and his veteran team on this epic quest for clean, quiet, air transportation that is disrupting airplanes, helicopters, drones, and even enabling “flying cars” so we can travel to where we want to be, when we want to be there.
Learn more in Erik’s words…
Part one: Leveraging the past, and creating a brilliant new future of flight
To be a part of a small group of people who changed the way that the world thinks about spaceflight and help get SpaceShipOne hanging in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum next to my grandfather’s Spirit of St. Louis was incredibly empowering. How do we do that again? I’m an aviator not a rocket scientist, so I set my sights back on flight and looked closely at the threats to the aviation industry (which tend to reveal opportunities). Carbon emissions, noise and cost were the main culprits, and in 2008 I realized that the emerging electric propulsion technology could create a step-change in the way we move around the planet. Historically, big breakthroughs in aerospace come from breakthroughs in propulsion. Think of 1940s vintage piston engines, modern jet engines and the rocket engines SpaceX uses. The aircraft all look radically different and the engine technology guides the aircraft (or spacecraft) design.
Now for the exciting part: electrification is the next big disruption, and innovators around the world are racing to revolutionize existing market segments and invent new ones. With more than 200 companies each betting their future on creating their own unique aircraft design, VerdeGo decided on a different strategy. Rather than invest our expertise on a new aircraft, we recognized a greater need for VerdeGo to build the entire industry with electric power technologies all of these aircraft can use. “Flying cars” or eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) vehicles have made headlines and attracted more than $1B of funding. We have been applying our technologies and expertise with our customers in this market; while also advancing the fixed-wing airplanes, drones, and other next-generation aircraft segments.
We see the transformational impact that hybrid and battery-electric cars have had on the automotive industry over the past 20+ years. The startups disrupting the car market are now worth more than the legacy companies that have been in business for more than 100 years. So, why don’t we have electric aircraft already? Why is aviation tracking 20 years behind the car industry and not ahead of it? The simple answer lies in the ability to store energy and provide enough electrons to power a useful airplane. Everything that goes into an aircraft needs to be as light as possible. Even the best battery technologies are twenty times heavier than the amount of jet fuel needed to create the same energy. The dilemma facing the trillion-dollar aerospace industry is how to realize the huge efficiency, noise, and environmental benefits of electric flight without having an aircraft that is too heavy to fly.
VerdeGo Aero has the solutions to these challenges. The technologies and performance required in aviation are far more difficult than for automotive, but the roadmap isn’t so different. The first steps involve hybrid-electric power that blends the strengths of conventional engines with electric power. Our heritage of leading industry consortiums, pioneering academic research, authoring new regulations, and flying several of the early electric aircraft; positions VerdeGo to advance electric flight from dream to reality.
However, our vision doesn’t stop with hybrids. While battery technologies have a long way to go for most aerospace applications, there are incredible opportunities for the future. One of the biggest elements of a hybrid-electric system is the battery pack, so being hybrid experts means we also must be battery experts. VerdeGo is positioning to be both the Prius and the Tesla of electric flight. Our hybrid systems open up the market now, with batteries transitioning from niche applications to mainstream as technology advances.
In 2002 I retraced my grandfather’s historic 1927 flight from New York to Paris in a small single engine airplane, to leverage my history in order to inspire the future of space flight. On the 100th anniversary of his historic flight I want to demonstrate that we are ready for a new century of clean quiet aircraft. Imagine the potential for all of us to move through the sky more quickly, efficiently, and quietly; and imagine this for both long journeys and short hops within cities. At VerdeGo we are creating the future of sustainable flight, and the technologies are here now.
Join VerdeGo Aero’s team for a Family Office Network webinar on June 10th. Learn how you can be a part of this impact investment revolutionizing clean, quiet electric air transportation.
For more information contact: Eric Bartsch [email protected]