Hybrid-electric airplane, the first ever to be able to recharge its batteries in flight, has been successfully tested in the UK. Watch the video…
In this hybrid aircraft an electric motor and petrol engine work together to drive the propeller. The demonstrator aircraft uses up to 30% less fuel than a comparable plane with a petrol-only engine. The aircraft is also able to recharge its batteries in flight, the first time this has been achieved.
Dr Paul Robertson of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, who led the project, said:
“Although hybrid cars have been available for more than a decade, what’s been holding back the development of hybrid or fully-electric aircraft until now is battery technology.
Until recently, they have been too heavy and didn’t have enough energy capacity. But with the advent of improved lithium-polymer batteries, similar to what you’d find in a laptop computer, hybrid aircraft – albeit at a small scale – are now starting to become viable.”
source University of Cambridge