Embraer Begins Electric Demonstrator Flight Test Campaign


Embraer has announced that it is beginning the first flight test campaign for its all-electric demonstrator aircraft. According to the company, early flights will primarily be evaluating the aircraft’s power, performance, control, thermal management and operational safety. Testing will take place at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto facility in São Paulo, Brazil.

“The first flight of an aircraft is always an important milestone, and the takeoff of our first zero-emission electric aircraft also represents the relevant contribution of our teams and partners to the energy transition of the sector,” said Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer vice president of engineering, technology development and corporate strategy. “We are committed to seeking solutions to enable the future of a more sustainable aviation and innovation will play a key role in this journey.”

Embraer has been conducting simulations, lab tests and technology integration for the demonstrator since the second half of 2019. The aircraft is outfitted with an electric powertrain system from Brazil-based electric mobility solutions provider WEG and batteries funded by Brazilian electric utility company EDP. Embraer says it plans to use knowledge acquired via the demonstrator to develop new products “in line with the company’s continuous search for a sustainable future.”

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. If sustainability is the Embraer goal I hope they can also persuade President Bolsonaro to start protecting the Amazon. Electric Embraers are small peanuts in comparison.

  2. As we transfer to electric aircraft, as well as electric cars.. We’ll have to transfer that equal amount of energy to a generating source/s as well as to the grid transfer capacity.. It will be expensive and possibly cleaner depending on the generating sources.. The actual benefits will have to be seen..

    • I was just reading a Car & Driver review of their ongoing real-world comparison of operating a EV (Tesla 3) vs. a comparable gas-powered machine (BMW 340). As they approach the 100,000 mile mark, maintenance costs so often touted as highly favoring the EV are turning out to be only slightly lower, and the per-mile “fuel” cost of unsubsidized electricity vs. the BMW’s 94 octane premium are also within a couple of pennies per mile. Nothing even remotely enough to offset the purchase price differential.

      • Your numbers don’t seem to jibe with reality.

        As of C&D’s 7/29/21 update, the car was closing on 40,000 miles – not 100K, and they were reporting 85 MPGe mileage. The only direct ‘fuel’ comparison I saw was quoted from the 20,000 update, in which they said that IF they had used Superchargers exclusively (which they called an extreme case), then their cost per mile would have doubled to the point of being almost as high as the BMW. And they were basing their estimates on the nationwide average power rates, not on subsidised electricity.

        As for the purchase price differential, cars.com lists a ’21 BMW 340 starting at $54,700 as compared to $40K for the Model 3. Or $49K vs $35K for an ’18. (Their Tesla is a ’19, but the base 340 ended in ’18).

    • Tom, you just hit on the subject I have complained about for a long time. If we plan to make a large-scale switch from petroleum to electric propulsion, it will take a massive increase in electricity production to supply the power. The U.S. currently consumes about 7 million barrels of oil a day to provide transportation fuels. That’s roughly 300 million gallons of gasoline and diesel/jet fuel. That’s a whole lot of kilowatts of energy that will have to be produced. America’s power grid currently has little reserve capacity and many places, like my home state (Texas), are strained to the limit in the summer months. To the people who say that we can pick up the demand with wind and solar, I say good luck. Yes, we need both renewable supplies, but you can’t run the country on power plants that only run between 35 and 50% of the time. If we are serious about having half the cars on the road being electric by 2030, as President Biden wants, then we had better get started on building nuclear power plants – lots of them. Like it or not, nuclear is the only non-carbon producing power technology available that can generate the level of power needed for an all-electric economy. And, the time from permitting to commercial operation runs about 15 years for a nuke plant, if you can find a location to build one. New nuclear designs are far safer than the plants we are used to, and disposal of spent fuel is more easily addressed. There is no free lunch people. Get used to it.

  3. Regarding the comment about sustainability and Mr. Bolsonaro: Bolsonaro is authoritarian, megalomaniac and inept who does not understand scientific data about the planet. We are counting the days to see this gentleman disappear. Kind of reminds me of Mr. Trump.

  4. “Your mileage may vary”. The national average 13.6 cents per KWH is all well & good, but here in SoCal my last month’s average per KWH was 26.2 cents, with peak rates being over 44 cents. Fortunately, the promised miracle breakthroughs will be here any day now and everything will be solar powered practically for free.

    • I’m sorry you’re getting so badly ripped off by your power company. I live in a central Massachusetts town with its own municipal power company, and my last electric bill says I’m paying, all up, 12 cents per KWH. And according to their most recent annual report, it’s 90% carbon free.

  5. Interesting about the car comparison.

    I had always thought EV’s would be less expensive to operate and that was one of the carrots to get people to but such things.

    I’m a Mercedes man myself, and view Tesla as I would a burning dung pile, but I would consider a Mercedes EV as the maintenance costs of a German performance luxury car as so high. If there is no maintenance and cost of ownership advantage, why on Earth would a person want an EV?