The world’s first battery-powered airplane, E-Fan, has just successfully completed its first flight in Bordeaux, France. The small experimental aircraft is powered by 120 lithium-ion polymer batteries and can fly up to 220kmph. According to its manufacturer, Toulouse-based Airbus, an hour long commercial flight with the E-Fan could cost only $16, compared to $55 for a flight in a petrol-powered plane of the same size.

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Measuring little over 19 feet from nose to tail and making slightly more noise than a hairdryer, E-Fan boasts a technology that could revolutionize the aircraft industry. Its relatively low speed, small size and the flight duration that is restricted to a few hours are some of the obstacles in applying E-Fan’s technology to larger aircrafts. However, large aircraft manufacturers have already expressed interest in developing the technology further, which creates the possibility of making larger aircrafts that would be powered by a hybrid system.

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E-Fan features a technology that could have far-reaching benefits to the environment. Besides its low cost, the aircraft could pave the way to lowering global carbon emissions of commercial flights. Airbus plans to manufacture two versions of the E-Fan. The two-seater E-Fan 2.0 will be a fully electric training aircraft, while E-Fan 4.0 will be used for both training and general flight purposes and will be powered by a hybrid system.

+ Airbus Group