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Three huge companies have joined together to develop the technology needed to launch electrically powered aircraft.
Both Airbus and Rolls-Royce will work alongside Siemens to replace an aircraft’s existing jet engines with an electrical alternative.
The electric engine will use a fan powered by an on-board generator located within the aircraft, in order to enable it to carry out short-haul journeys.
All three of the companies hope that by 2020, they will be able to fly a demonstration of the aircraft in order to help perfect the technology.
Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer at Rolls-Royce, believes that electric aircraft could transform the aviation industry, ensuring flights are more efficient and produce less noise.
Those involved in the project expect the technology to be used in regional aircraft initially, servicing short-haul routes, such as London to Paris.
Mark Cousin, Head of Flight Demonstration at Airbus, claims that if an electric aircraft proves to be successful then it could reduce fuel consumption by around 10%, potentially making flights cheaper for travellers.
Moving towards electric aircraft would also have a huge impact on the aviation industry’s ability to meet EU targets, which require a 60% and 75% reduction in emissions and noise respectively, by 2050.
However, Mr Stein, insists the technology can have an even bigger impact by allowing runways to be closer to city centres. “It has the potential to move transport from rail to air, and gives the opportunity to connect any city pairs,” he explained.
All of the companies involved are investing heavily in research, and talks are ongoing with the UK Government to receive additional funding.
Airbus has been looking into electric aircraft for a while now and has created a demonstration model that is able to put on silent displays at air shows.
easyJet is also looking into the technology and expects electric aircraft to be flying short-haul routes in under ten years.
If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your short-haul travel insurance in advance
Date Created: 30/11/2017