The car industry has its made great strides in development and promoting of the use of electric cars. Similarly, the aerospace industry has not been left behind in researching, testing, and demonstrating the possibility of small scale and large-scale utility of electric aircrafts. This is also a move that seeks a viable alternative to internal combustion engines which are largely inefficient and contribute to rising global CO2 levels.
The Airbus Group is developing a prototype of the electric airplane otherwise known as the Airbus E-fan plane.
Noise has been a major issue among people living near airports. In fact, the aviation industry has been slapped with numerous lawsuits that have not only been expensive and time wasting but have also ruined the overall reputation of the aviation companies. Consequently, the aviation industry welcomes products that emit low levels of noise. Similarly, an increasing number of clients want to participate and promote the use of green technologies. The E-Fan electric aircraft will be able to hit two birds with the same stone- offering a low noise aerospace solution and providing green technology in the aviation industry.
E-Fan Electric Aircraft
Airbus developed the two-seat experimental electric aircraft and made its first public demonstration in France in April 2014. Its market will mainly be schools, flying clubs, and the training of pilots. The structure of the aircraft is all-composite. The company is banking on the current research for battery technology to allow them to utilize the best technology so far.
The batteries of the prototype are contained in the inboard section of the wing. The design allows for battery pack hot swaps.
The company has invested 20 million euros for the design and eventual development of the E-fan 2.0. Furthermore, it plans to utilize engineering schools and apprenticeship programs worldwide. This is also aimed at the development of young talent in the production of the next-generation products.
The most unique thing about the airplane is that it is almost silent in flight. Moreover, Airbus has used the plane to advance its efforts and policy of being environmental conscious and the promotion of using sustainable products in order to preserve the planet. In this regard, it is carbon dioxide free.
The airplane has the ability to reach a speed of 136 mph. In addition to that, it can carry out a comfortable flight of up-to one hour. The E-fan 2.0 will be mainly used for pilot training which will only serve a small fraction of the market. The E-fan 4.0 will serve a wider market since it will be used to serve the general aviation market.
How long before we are all flying on electric planes?
Airbus has projected that all its electric planes will be in service from 2017. By the year 2050, the company hopes that it will add a 100 seat electric plane to its fleet. However, it should be noted that the airplane is only a prototype at this time. The company hopes to construct a final assembly line that will be based in Pau, South-West France. It also hopes that it will be able to manufacture ten planes an year with room for growth as the market demand dictates.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.