Hybrid airplane

New technologies take off as Airbus sets their sights on the regional market and a hybrid airplane.

Jean Botti, Chief Technology Officer for Airbus Group NV, told reporters in Munich that the company is busy developing an aircraft that can take off and land using electric power.

Botti, previously of General Motors, was part of the team that developed battery powered cars more than 20 years ago. He revealed that Airbus has been studying electric cars, and learning from carmakers, in order to develop a small plane powered by hybrid electric engines.

The plan that is to develop a regional plane that seats 70 to 90 people, is expected to take between 15 and 20 years to realise. Both Airbus and Boeing Co. dominate the market for passenger jets, making aircraft that seat upwards of 150 people. This project could see Airbus move into the regional market.

Airbus claim electric planes will take to the skies in the next 25 years!

Airbus is already working on a two seat, all-electric plane. Powered by two motors with a combined output of 60 kilowatts, Airbus hopes that this technology will contribute to the task of bringing electric engines to larger aircraft.

The two-seater E-Fan will be built in Bordeaux, France, and will run on lithium-ion polymer batteries. As the battery life is only 30 minutes, the plane will only be suitable for short missions. Think pilot training or aerobatics. Botti said they hope to increase battery life to one hour, but they are ‘tricky’ and ‘causing a lot of headaches’.

Botti declined to say how much Airbus was investing in hybrid and electric, but he did say that he would like to see a prototype for a regional jet by 2030.


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