Image credit: Yuneec
Electric Aircraft Makes Successful Test Flight
There are plenty of fancy electric super cars out there proving that battery-powered does not have to mean boring. But is the world ready for electric aviation? THere's actually more prototypes out there than you might think - from the SkySpark electric plane to the jaw-dropping, alp-crossing Sunseeker solar plane (video). Heck, there's so much hope for battery-powered flight that there is even an Electric Plane Symposium, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hinted at supersonic electric flight. In the meantime, another electric plane has taken flight - and this one might be on the market sooner than you'd think. Click below the fold for video footage of the maiden flight. Created by the Chinese electric flight company Yuneec, the E430 is a two-seat electric plane that claims to have a flight range of between 1.5 and 3 hours. The plane weighs in at around 1000lbs, and the makers claim that a full charge will cost as little as $5. Now owning my own aircraft, I can't say how that stacks up against your average aviators fuel bill - but I'll bet it compares pretty favorably.
Of course this looks like it's more suited to sports and recreation than day-to-day transport, so you'd be hard pressed to call it "green" in the purist sense of the word - but if you're going to fly anyway, then flying a plane charged on electricity, potentially from renewable sources, has got to be a step up. No word yet on pricing - but the video from AVweb tells us that Yuneec are planning to launch the E430 in the US as an experimental model in the near future.