Usually, the thing is powered by four combustion engines, made by British Aerospace, Lycoming, or Honeywell, depending on configuration. But, after it goes through the changes imposed by Wright, the plane will soon get a “megawatt propulsion system” that turns it into an old electric flyer.
According to the info provided by the manufacturer, the Spirit’s powertrain can deliver 2,700 hp coming from a single motor (it will have four of them). It should be capable of staying in the air for about an hour (Wright says short hauls is the segment it targets), meaning it could easily cover distances like the ones between London and Paris, or San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The airplane is not yet ready, with the company’s CEO, Jeff Engler, saying the target for flight readiness is 2026. That would be quite the achievement, given how the industry as a whole doesn’t even come close to having something like this ready by then, and the general goal is to have net-zero carbon emissions in aviation all the way in 2050.
The electric drivetrain of the Spirit is presently undergoing ground testing. The first flight with a single electric motor is scheduled for 2023, and with two of them by 2024. Full conversion should be achieved two years after that.