Remember the Cri-Cri, the world’s smallest electric plane? In August, we wrote how the vehicle had made its first maiden flight near Paris, and now it has shattered the speed record for electric aircraft by travelling at 162 mph. The record was previously been set by an Italian team in 2009 who had travelled at 155 mph — but the amazing thing is that the Cri-Cri was not even trying its hardest.

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According to Electravia, the firm who designed the Cri-Cri’s 35-horsepower motors and custom propellers, the plane was only using 75% of its total power when it broke the speed record. The engineering firm said that its engines and propellers could have taken the plane to speeds over 220 mph, however such velocity would have put serious stress on the Cri-Cri’s airframe so only 75% power was used.

There is even something more remarkable about this record – Electravia barely noticed. Apparently the speed record was broken on 5 September, shortly after the Cri-Cri’s maiden flight, but with all the PR fanfare, the speed record being broken was missed by the industry.

The fact that an electric aircraft has such potential is a big step for green aviation, especially considering the industry had its doubts about airplanes being powered by electric motors and batteries. If the industry continues its innovations, air travel could become greener and more affordable within a decade.

+ Electravia

Via Wired