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The two-passenger E-Fan 2.0 will be followed up by the four-passenger E-Fan 4.0

Americans are just warming up the idea of an all-electric car for everyday use, but how does the aviation community feel about an all-electric airplane? Airbus, which makes the hulking A380 superjumbo and A350 XWB commercial airliners, is looking to pique the interest of recreational pilots around the world with its E-Fan 2.0 prototype. Airbus demonstrated its “green” aircraft last week at the Farnborough International Airshow in the UK.
 
Whereas the A380 has a wingspan of 262 feet and can theoretically carry up to 853 people, the diminutive E-Fan 2.0 has a wingspan of just 31 feet and carries 2 passengers. The all-electric aircraft actually contains three electric motors, one of which is mounted within its front wheel for taxiing. The 6 kW motor can power the E-Fan 2.0 up to 37 mph on the runway, which aids in efficiency and noise reduction.

 
However, the two most important engines are affixed to the fuselage just aft of the cockpit. Together, the two engines provide 60 kW of power and are fed via two lithium-polymer battery packs that are housed within the wings.
 
Thanks to its efficient ducted fan design and 10 kWh battery capacity, the E-Fan 2.0 has a maximum endurance of up to 1 hours (plus 15 minutes of emergency reserve) at a cruising speed of 100 mph. Maximum speed is listed at 124 mph.
 
Helped in part by its lightweight batteries and full carbon fiber composite structure, the E-Fan 2.0 weighs just 1,100 pounds empty.
 
Airbus hopes to make available a production version of the E-Fan 2.0 in 2017, while a four-seat model — the E-Fan 4.0 — will follow afterwards.

Source: Airbus



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Uh oh.
By aliasfox on 7/21/2014 11:12:45 AM , Rating: 5
This plane takes range anxiety to new heights.




RE: Uh oh.
By Griffinhart on 7/21/2014 11:22:14 AM , Rating: 3
This plane just may reach Nantucket from my local airport! if things go according to plan, and I don't need to get back home that day....

When flying was a bit cheaper, and I had a little more disposable income, I used to take daytrips to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket a couple times a month.

Honestly though, a 1 hour endurance really limits the use of this plane to local sightseeing, as long as you don't go more than 25-30 minutes from your home airport. All Electric planes just don't make much sense at this point.


RE: Uh oh.
By soccerballtux on 7/21/2014 2:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
from there, you can just glide back down when your batteries run out


RE: Uh oh.
By Jeffk464 on 7/21/2014 3:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
Seems to me the main reason light planes end up in a pile in the ground instead of parked at the airport is the engine stalling. My guess is electric power will reduce crashes.


RE: Uh oh.
By GreenEnvt on 7/21/2014 8:13:27 PM , Rating: 2
Engine stalling/failing doesn't cause many crashes in big aircraft (aerodynamic/lift stalling does though), but it does much more in the smaller single engine planes for sure.


RE: Uh oh.
By sorry dog on 7/23/2014 11:42:03 AM , Rating: 2
Actually mechanical issues are a small minority of general aviation accidents. If you simplify the reasons, poor judgment (pilot error) is the most common probable cause by far.

Actually one hour isn't that bad... endurance of many small single engine piston planes is 2-3 hours. BUT, I bet that one hour rating is at the most economical conditions at a speed far less than the 100 mph max speed. Considering the battery is probably 1/3 or 1/2 the airframe weight, the true technical achievement of this plane is super low structural weight that probably 600 pounds or less. A place aluminum framed piston powered Van's RV4, which is a very light plane, is 1100 pounds at the lightest.


RE: Uh oh.
By AntDX316 on 7/25/2014 1:07:47 AM , Rating: 2
its just like a huge electric RC plane


RE: Uh oh.
By CharonPDX on 7/21/2014 5:16:04 PM , Rating: 3
The ubiquitous Piper Cub has very similar range. This isn't a "fly across the country with the family" plane, this is a "visit the valley vineyards with the significant other" plane.

This would get me to the coast, to skiing, to visit my kid in college. Of course, I'd have to be able to afford it first, and I can basically guarantee you that ain't happening any time soon.


RE: Uh oh.
By Guspaz on 7/21/2014 9:41:48 PM , Rating: 5
The Piper Cub has more than double the range (220 miles, versus 100 miles), stays aloft nearly three times as long, and it was built nearly 70 years ago...

Modern light sport aircraft have a range that is many times that of the E-Fan aircraft. 800+ miles isn't uncommon.


RE: Uh oh.
By sorry dog on 7/23/2014 11:46:14 AM , Rating: 2
I suspect this is more like a fly around the airfield for 20 minutes and then get back in the pattern before things get real dicey.

But that would still be a lot of fun in my opinion. Any flying time is better than none.


Well, in-flight refueling ...
By Outofbubblegum on 7/21/2014 10:39:56 AM , Rating: 3
should be interesting. Do I use an American or a European plug?




RE: Well, in-flight refueling ...
By bug77 on 7/21/2014 11:05:38 AM , Rating: 2
No. You only have to swap the batteries. Obviously.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 7/21/2014 11:09:34 AM , Rating: 2
Wireless recharging of course ;)


By marvdmartian on 7/22/2014 7:32:53 AM , Rating: 3
I was just thinking, 'Commercials we'll probably never see'...

Energizer teams up with Airbus (or one of their competitors offering a similar product), and shows the happy couple flying along in their battery powered airplane, which suddenly, unexpectedly, runs out of juice, turns into a brick with wings, crashes, and kills the once-happy couple.

At the scene of the crash, as the emergency workers are showing up, we see the Energizer bunny rabbit, beating on his drum, while the voice-over announcer says, "Bet they wished they'd used Energizer brand batteries...."


I like the idea of..
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/21/2014 4:48:00 PM , Rating: 2
autonomous flying vehicles over autonomous driving cars. No pedestrians to deal with, more options to avoid hitting things.




safety
By Dave1231 on 7/22/2014 9:18:17 AM , Rating: 2
This could be a very safe plane with fewer mechanical parts to fail.




When everything goes electric
By BRB29 on 7/21/14, Rating: -1
RE: When everything goes electric
By wolrah on 7/21/2014 11:44:16 AM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure EMPs do bad things to a lot of simple ignition systems as well.

Diesel is what you want, an old mechanically injected diesel.

Personally my idea of the perfect apocalypse vehicle is a '73-87/91 GM truck/SUV with either the old 6.2L Detroit or preferably a swap to a Cummins 6BT. The truck is one of the most common chassis out there thanks to its long lifespan and both of those engines are old workhorses which may not be fast but will run on anything that generally resembles diesel and require no electricity at all to run.

I don't think you could crank start one, but I've seen air-start and shell-start systems for semis and tractors, I'd imagine one of those could be adapted to these engines with some ingenuity so even if every starter motor in the world was fried you could still make it work.

As for making a video game about it, SpinTires basically has the driving part down. Combine it with a pure PvP DayZ-ish FPS mode and I think you'd have something.

Apocalypse Simulator 2015


RE: When everything goes electric
By FaaR on 7/21/2014 12:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
Sufficient EMP will knock out ANY vehicle electrical system, fusing wire coils in fuel pumps, alternators, starter motor and so on (or even setting fire to wire insulation.)

Of course, to reach that level of damage (on any wide scale anyway) you need intense solar flare activity, so this is not likely to happen whenever it is most convenient to some actor here on earth.

Of course, that level of EMP would of course screw us all rather thoroughly, instantly knocking our level of technology back to the middle ages at best. :P


RE: When everything goes electric
By m51 on 7/21/2014 11:42:10 PM , Rating: 3
Solar flares produce a long wavelength electrical wave when interacting with the earth's magnetic field, this is hazardous for things like electric power grids with very long wires that can couple well to the wave but not for small electrical systems like electronics and airplanes.

The charged particles themselves from the solar flare can damage satellites in space, but the charged particles are blocked by the earth's magnetic field and atmosphere.

Nuclear EMP actually consists of three waves, one a very fast rise time wave generated by the gamma flash, a medium speed wave, and if it's a high altitude burst (100+ miles) it also generates a slow wave very similar to solar flare activity via the same mechanism of displacing the earth's magnetic field lines.

The very fast gamma flash produced EMP wave is the one that is most damaging to electronics and the hardest to shield against, but it also is essentially line of sight and attenuates with distance most rapidly . The long wave EMP has very large range, but is only hazardous for long wire systems and is relatively easy to protect against. Nuclear EMP is also capped at a maximum intensity above which the air ionizes and essentially shorts out the wave, so you cannot just keep scaling it up to any intensity you want.

The reality of EMP physics is much different than what is portrayed in movies and even in many news articles. Probably because it makes better press that way. Although EMP can produce some pretty impressive damage, except for long wave susceptible systems you have to be reasonably close to the blast and you will have more than just EMP to worry about.


RE: When everything goes electric
By JediJeb on 7/21/2014 3:37:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't think you could crank start one, but I've seen air-start and shell-start systems for semis and tractors, I'd imagine one of those could be adapted to these engines with some ingenuity so even if every starter motor in the world was fried you could still make it work.


As long as you have a manual transmission just park on a hill before shutting it down. Used to do that a lot with farm tractors if their starters were giving us problems.


RE: When everything goes electric
By chromal on 7/21/2014 12:03:13 PM , Rating: 2
Well, with the number of fly-by-wire jetliners in the air today, the source of thrust is the least of our concerns. At least this plane is small enough that all the flight surface controls are likely mechanical/manual, so it could be dead-stick landed in theory at least.

There's another guy who built an experimental electric aircraft with a much shorter endurance of like 15-20 minutes, and apparently he dead-stick lands it at the airport often, kinda like a self-towing sailplane.

The EMP vulnerability is a real one, but there are bigger fish to fry, in terms of what needs to be hardened more.


RE: When everything goes electric
By Jeffk464 on 7/21/2014 3:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
No doubt I remember watching a C130 land with no electrical power at all. Try doing that in an A380.


RE: When everything goes electric
By Samus on 7/21/2014 12:43:54 PM , Rating: 2
BRB29, you act as if EMP doesn't affect everything we currently have. Even a carbureted vehicle has an electric ignition coil.

Basically the only vehicles immune to EMP are diesels (and perhaps will still need a push start) but even then you'd need a very antique diesel.


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