Electric Airplanes – A reality soon
In July 2015 an electric plane flew from Lydd airport in Kent UK over the channel to Calais.The two-seat E-Fan demonstrator plane powered exclusively by lithium batteries took 36 minutes to do the crossing. The flight copied the flight by Louis Blériot in his fragile wood and fabric plane—the first aviator to cross the Channel in July 1909. The idea is an obvious one to make flying more environmentally friendly and efficient and potentially cheaper too.The European Union already has started charging some airlines for carbon-dioxide emissions. The kind of size being aimed at is around 100 seater planes.
Electric motors weigh the same as turbine engines, but are 2½ times more efficient at converting stored energy into mechanical power and up to six times better compared with piston engines used in general aviation, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. But the key thing is that the lithium batteries have become vastly more efficient in only the last year increasing flight time from around 25 minutes up to 55 minutes. Airbus are investing around 22 million $, so this is a serious investment.Over the long term, Airbus is counting on hybrid technology to fly even longer and provide a springboard to build regional planes carrying 100 passengers. The hybrid plane would take off and land using electric engines. In flight, when the battery has drained, a biofuel-powered motor would recharge power cells.