In the era where electric and hybrid cars have gained immense attention, the idea of battery-operated planes seems not very far from being a reality. Airbus Group has taken on board the hybrid car makers as it plans to manufacture small planes powered by battery-powered engines.
Airbus is a dominant name in the market when it comes to passenger jets. It normally produces planes with a seating capacity of more than 150 passengers. Airbus gave a statement this week about their test flight of prototype electric aircraft and they have named it “E-Fan”.
E-Fan is a two-seater aircraft and Its ducted fans are being run by the electric motors. These motors have an output of 60 kilowatts or 80 HP and are powered by lithium polymer batteries. These batteries can power the plane for half an hour, but the company is trying to increase the endurance to at least an hour. Airbus Group Chief Technology Officer Jean Botti, said that the batteries are giving them a tough time so far when it comes to increasing endurance. E-Fan has a weight of 550 KG and it can fly at a brisk rate of 177 kilometers per hour. A tiny electric motor is present on the main landing gear wheels with the capability of producing thrust, which can propel the aircraft at a rate of 55km per hour. The wingspan of E-Fan is 9.5 meters.
Bordeaux in southwest France, is the place where they intend to start its production and that may take 2-3 years. The company plans to manufacture a prototype for regional airlines in 2030. A joint venture between Aero Composite Saintonge (ACS) industry, European multinational aerospace and Airbus Group has even made possible the wide scale production of this plane.
According to Airbus, E-Fan can be used for missions of very short duration, such as pilot training and aerobatics. The company intends to produce a battery-operated regional airliner with 70 to 90 seats and they are pretty optimistic about turning this dream into a reality in 15-20 years.