While electric vehicles are gaining popularity in the automotive world, the aviation industry is also looking into ways to clean up its act. French firm Airbus is best known for its large passenger jets–including the double-deck Airbus A380–but its latest project is rather smaller. The E-FAN is a small experimental aircraft, powered entirely by electricity. It’s small, much quieter than a typical combustion-engined light aircraft, and could cut the cost of an hour-long flight from around $55 to just $16.
The world’s first battery-powered airplane, E-Fan, has just successfully completed its first flight in Bordeaux, France. The small experimental aircraft is powered by 120 lithium-ion polymer batteries and can fly up to 220kmph. According to its manufacturer, Toulouse-based Airbus, an hour long commercial flight with the E-Fan could cost only $16, compared to $55 for a flight in a petrol-powered plane of the same size. Measuring little over 19 feet from nose to tail and making slightly more noise than a hairdryer, E-Fan boasts a technology that could revolutionize the aircraft industry. Its relatively low speed, small size and the flight duration that is restricted to a few hours are some of the obstacles in applying E-Fan’s technology to larger aircrafts. However, large aircraft manufacturers have already expressed interest in developing the technology further, which creates the possibility of making larger aircrafts that would be powered by a hybrid system.