Wright Blog

Wright Weekly Weport Mar 12 2017

Dear all,
Welcome to the Wright Weekly Weport for March 12.
  • Customer progress on electric 150 seater!
  • Shifting resources – seeking guidance
  • All hands on deck for demo day
Customer Progress on Electric 150 Seater!
For the past few weeks, and largely thanks to the tenacity of you fantastic weporters, Team Wright has been speaking with airlines about our electric 150-seater concept.
Good news: we’re excited to report we have a potential partnership with one airline. Also: a high-net-worth-individual wants our electric 150-seater as his fifth private jet. Woo hoo!
It’s all very new and fragile, but it’s like what startup guru Andy Swan says about walking on ice: “When it’s slick, a tiny bit of momentum is all you need.”
It cannot be overstated how crucial the weport community has been – Ian, Blake, Darrell, Meghan, Judith, Raja, everyone else – thank you a million times!
Shifting Resources – Seeking Guidance
With last week’s customer validation, we’re now shifting focus to the electric 150-seater. We learned a lot diving into the 9-seater market, and we think the 150-seater size is better for us. Here’s the thought process:
  1. Enormous market. It almost goes without saying, but if we could make an electric 150-seater, it would have a huge market. In 2016, Boeing and Airbus sold 967 “narrow body” 737s/A320s. At $90m per plane, 967 x $90m = $87b annual market. 30% of narrow body flights are < 300 miles (see chart #1 below). 30% x $87b = $26b. Adding in the regional jet market increases market by up to 50%. And the market validation above gives us confidence we’re on the right path.
  2. Doable approach.  Our design intentionally doesn’t require beyond-the-pale technology assumptions.
    1. Aero. We’re not inventing new wings or fuselage formats. Our airframe is designed to comply with existing FAA regulations. The aero team has decades of experience at places like Boeing Phantom Works and Cessna. They’ve received numerous grants from NASA focusing specifically on electric planes. If anyone can design a feasible plane, it’s these folks.
    2. Batteries. As Bart wisely suggested, we’ve designed our battery strategy to be robust to different battery futures.
      1. If batteries don’t get dramatically better in the next decade, we design our plane as a hybrid with electric motors, like a Volt. It still has great cost savings as compared to today’s planes, and it doesn’t require massive battery advances.
      2. If batteries do get a lot better in the next decade, our plane is fully-electric and has fantastic cost savings. See chart #2 below; a near-future jump to a chemistry like Li-Metal doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility.
  3. Amazing team. Our aero team has decades of experience in aircraft design, electric planes, and certification. Our battery team has decades of experience in battery design, battery manufacturing, and early stage startup R&D. This is just about the best group of people one could imagine embarking on a such a journey.
Chart #1: Flight Distribution of Planes
SourceNote: “Narrow Body” = 150 seater
Chart #2: Battery Advances
For these reasons we’re confident about moving forward. But what do you think? We’re speaking with folks at a demo day in a week (see below), and your concerns will be an accurate reflection of their ones. What’s missing? What are the obvious holes? What are the less obvious ones?
Feel free to write back with your gnarliest questions, and we’ll add them to the preparation log. Thank you!  
All Hands on Deck for Demo Day
We have a demo day presentation a week from Monday. We’re spending the next eight days writing the script, adjusting the slides, polishing the website, preparing the Q&A, etc. If you have any spare cycles and would be interested in joining a small sub-group of weporter ninjas, let me know. We would be super grateful!
Thank you in advance!
Adding one new rock star to the weport distribution list this week:
  • Josh Posamentier is managing partner at Congruent VC.
Thanks to Ben, Darold, Ian, Aaron, Joe, Doug, Jenn, Jared, Sam, Daniel, Gustaf, Judith, Tara, Samir, Josh, Raja, George, Blake, Jude, Malay, Rachel, Abigail, Ben, Hart, Bink, Damon, Nate, Jess, Ben, Kate, Blake, Rob, Soo, Honora, Yev, Amira, and everyone else who helped out and/or sent over words of encouragement this week.
And welcome to the folks from the website signup form. Feel free to drop me a note and introduce yourself if you have a second.
Hope you’re having a great weekend!
PS: We really hope you’re enjoying these updates. But if at any time you’d like to stop receiving them, please just do so here. No hard feelings — we all understand inbox overload!
PPS: Wright song of the week: Blockboy – The Renaissance

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