Aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus has recently unveiled a prototype electric aircraft. Dubbed the E-Fan, the aircraft runs on two batteries that produce 60 kilowatts of power, allowing the aircraft to run for half an hour. Though just a prototype, the E-Fan has the ability to bring a number of benefits to air travel in the future. According to CNN:
Besides the benefits of noise and emissions reduction, the reduced cost of training pilots with the E-Fan is incredible, says Botti [Airbus’ Chief Technology Officer]. It costs about two cents per hour to fly the electric plane, a number which is up to 20-50 times cheaper than the normal fuel costs of today’s aircraft, he says.
Ultimately, these savings will get passed on to the customer, explained Botti, as the electric-powered flight training becomes a reality.
Eventually, the company has its eye on building planes for regional flights, with up to 90 people flying for three hours, although this is still 15-20 years away, says Botti.
While electric powered air travel is still in its infancy, its future introduction into the mainstream has many potential benefits for consumers. As mentioned above, introduction of electric powered aircraft into commercial fleets can perhaps lead to lower costs for the consumer, as well as make air travel a more environmentally friendly industry.
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