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Hybrid electric planes could be the next new thing in aviation. Airbus, Rolls Royce, and Siemens are working together to create technology for the flying vehicles, according to a new report by Business Insider.
The “E-Fan C program” began back in 2012, when the European Union first started a push to reduce carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution. The goal is to have a flying hybrid plane by 2020 and to begin commercial flights by 2025. The current challenge is creating a green engine.
Most electric airplane projects are currently focusing on small aircraft, with room for one or two passengers. Here, among others, we have the Pipistrel Alpha Electro, a two-seater, and the NASA Maxwell, also a two-seater. China’s e-plane development isn’t far behind, and at the beginning of this month, China announced the maiden flight of an electric two-seater, which stayed in the air for two hours.
Another recent announcement has drawn attention to hybrid planes. It’s from Zunum Aero, a Seattle-based startup that is developing a 12-seater that will have a range of up to 700 miles and a new propulsion system that will have 80 percent lower emissions.
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The one from Rolls Royce, Siemens, and Airbus would seat 100 people, drawing its energy from a 2MW power plant.
Airbus itself expects to test by the end of the year a prototype of an autonomous flying car that could potentially help ease city traffic at some point in the future, Airbus Group chief executive Tom Enders said at a tech conference in January.
“One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground,” Enders told the DLD conference in Munich, as quoted by Reuters. Flying cars could also reduce construction costs for city infrastructure by billions of dollars, the manager said.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…