Dutch start-up Maeve Aerospace has taken the wraps off the latest iteration of its Maeve 01 all-electric regional airliner, having radically slimmed down the developmental type.
Originally launched in 2022 as the Echelon 01 when the company was still known as Venturi Aviation, the aircraft was previously pitched as a 44-seater with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of around 45t. Thrust was to be provided by eight 1.2MW electric motors powered by batteries.
But following the appointment of Martin Nusseler as chief technology officer in March this year, the Maeve 01 – revealed at the Paris air show today – has been put on a crash diet and undergone a marked configuration change.
Power now comes from four 1.2MW electric motors, while the fuselage is elliptically shaped – 2.8m (9.1ft) wide and 3.2m high – rather than the previous 3.6m-diameter cylinder; wingspan has also been reduced.
Combined, the changes have contributed to slash the MTOW down to 25.9t, says Nusseler. Batteries will weigh in at around 8t, allowing a payload of around 5t. In comparison, the ATR 42-600 against which the Maeve 01 will compete has an MTOW of 18.5t.
Nusseler has also ditched plans to fly a scaled demonstrator, instead intending to ground test a one-quarter-scale version of the entire propulsion system.
“Testing through three full cycles of hardware and software until 2028 is a much quicker route to maturity,” he argues.
The wing and empennage are likely to be manufactured from carbonfibre, while the fuselage will be metallic “in order to keep things as simple as possible”. Batteries are located in a bay under the passenger cabin floor and in the motor nacelles.
Nusseler says the company is working to bring suppliers on board ahead of the first flight of a Maeve 01 prototype planned for 2028. It has signed up Amprius to provide the aircraft’s batteries and Dynamic E Flow the electric motors.
If all goes to plan, Maeve hopes to have the regional aircraft certificated and in service by 2030. To date, it has attracted interest from Dutch start-up airline Lucy and New Zealand’s Air Napier.
Co-founder Jan Willem Heinen estimates the company will require around $2 billion to bring the Maeve 01 to market. “I think we have a good shot at closing the first $50 million by the end of this year,” he says.
That will be sufficient to fund Maeve through to 2025 and the closure of the preliminary design review phase.
Range with 44 passengers on board is a claimed 250nm (463km) with a maximum cruise speed of 330kt (610km/h).