Updated: Mar 25, 2022
Not so many years ago I recall sitting outside a bar called Annexe in the back streets of Cannes during the Intl Cannes Lions advertising festival and having the good fortune of meeting two fascinating men who were about to embark on a groundbreaking journey on the first ever solar powered plane. Their names were Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg. I sat talking to them with my fellow work colleagues amazed at their courageous and futuristic endeavour. That was back in 2015, here we are in 2022 they have since gone on to circumnavigate the globe and break 5 world records proving that ingenuity and a dedication to wanting to make a better future for ourselves and our planet is indeed possible.
As the worlds attention is finally turning towards the urgent need to invest in clean energy resources. In the words of Andre Borschberg
“The world is changing, fortunately,” he says, “but maybe not as fast as I would have liked. It takes time to change the way we do things, and it is in the interest of many industries to keep the world as it is today. Happily, the mindset of people is shifting, which is important because young people in particular will force the population to change. Changing the way our societies work is like shifting a tanker off its course—it is possible but it’s not easy. In this case, moving away from fuel-based travel will need the combined effort of the public and of entrepreneurs.”
Companies such as Blade a popular technology powered short distance aviation company are following suit and offering electrical verticle aircraft that take off and land like a helicopter. They're quiet, carbon nuetral and cost effective.Manufacturers like BETA Technologies, Airbus, Boeing, Lilium and Joby Aviation are all actively developing electric aircraft. It really is the beginning of an urban mobility revolution and testimony to the genius capabilities of the swiss pilot and his partner I happily spoke with all those years ago that change is possible. He created the Solar Impulse 2 with a team of engineers to prove to the world that fuel-free flying was easier to achieve than the aeronautical industry would have us believe.