Americans are just warming up the idea of an all-electric car for everyday use, but how does the aviation community feel about an all-electric airplane? Airbus, which makes the hulking A380 superjumbo and A350 XWB commercial airliners, is looking to pique the interest of recreational pilots around the world with its E-Fan 2.0 prototype. Airbus demonstrated its “green” aircraft last week at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK.
Whereas the A380 has a wingspan of 262 feet and can theoretically carry up to 853 people, the diminutive E-Fan 2.0 has a wingspan of just 31 feet and carries 2 passengers. The all-electric aircraft actually contains three electric motors, one of which is mounted within its front wheel for taxiing. The 6 kW motor can power the E-Fan 2.0 up to 37 mph on the runway, which aids in efficiency and noise reduction.
However, the two most important engines are affixed to the fuselage just aft of the cockpit. Together, the two engines provide 60 kW of power and are fed via two lithium-polymer battery packs that are housed within the wings.
Thanks to its efficient ducted fan design and 10 kWh battery capacity, the E-Fan 2.0 has a maximum endurance of up to 1 hours (plus 15 minutes of emergency reserve) at a cruising speed of 100 mph. Maximum speed is listed at 124 mph.
Helped in part by its lightweight batteries and full carbon fiber composite structure, the E-Fan 2.0 weighs just 1,100 pounds empty.
Airbus hopes to make available a production version of the E-Fan 2.0 in 2017, while a four-seat model — the E-Fan 4.0 — will follow afterwards.
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