Additive Manufacturing, Composites Help Grow Global Electric Aircraft Market

The electric aircraft market continues to grow at a fast pace, boosted by increasing demand for ultralight electric test aircraft and innovative general aviation (GA) programs, such as urban air taxis for urban mobility. The global electric aircraft market, which includes hybrid-electric and all-electric aircraft and systems, will realize a compound annual growth rate of more than seven percent by 2022, predict market research analysts at Technavio in London.

Technavio has published a new market research report on the global electric aircraft market, predicting a CAGR of more than 7% from 2018-2022. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Vertical takeoff and landing  (VTOL ) and all-electrical propulsion technologies bring the promise of low noise pollution and zero emissions, attracting a large number of customers anxious for cheaper, safer, eco-friendly flights in the future, Technavio analysts say. Operators are attracted by the potential for lower operating expenses and reduced functional breakdowns, credited to the absence of oil.

Many companies have entered the electric aircraft market and have been making substantial contributions to it, analysts add. Lilium GmbH in Munich, as an example, plans a five-seater taxi for urban mobility to be ready for commercial rollout by 2019.

The Lilium Jet consists of a rigid winged body with 12 flaps. Each one carries three electric jet engines. Depending on the flight mode, the flaps tilt from a vertical into a horizontal position.

Aircraft manufacturers are focused on reducing the overall weight of the aircraft while maintaining or improving its total carrying capacity. This need to design and produce high-performance aircraft within a weight constraint is the primary driver for aircraft manufacturers to use lightweight composites in manufacturing, Technavio analysts say.

“The advent of 3D printing has allowed the designers to manufacture unconventional design configurations, which would otherwise have been impossible to achieve. The parts or the aircraft can be fully printed with negligible loss of materials as waste. The electric aircraft industry depends on 3D printing for rapid production of aircraft components, saving time, money, and space,” says a senior analyst at Technavio for research on aerospace.

The hybrid segment held the largest market share in 2017, accounting for nearly 93 percent of the market, and is expected to dominate the global market throughout the forecast period, reveals Technavio’s market research report on the global electric aircraft market 2018-2022 .

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) led the market in 2017 with a market share of nearly 47 percent, and is expected to dominate the market through 2022, with an increase in its market share.

Technavio  is a global technology research and advisory company focused on emerging market trends, providing actionable insights to help businesses identify market opportunities and develop effective strategies to optimize their market positions.

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Courtney E. Howard  is editorial director and content strategist at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group. Contact her by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..