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PHOTO CAPTION: Airbus Group E-Fan 2.0 illustration. Seating has been move to side-by-side instead of the tandem arrangement of version 1.0.

Mile-High Range Anxiety: Flight of the E-Fan

Able to only fly for a hour at just over 100 mph, the E-Fan is a learn platform that can ultimately lead to larger, faster electric and hybrid aircraft.

Published: 12-May-2014

If you live in the U.S., the biggest part of your carbon footprint probably comes from air travel--a single round-trip flight from New York to San Francisco can add up to about two or three tons of carbon emissions per passenger. But airlines are slowly inching their way closer to truly green options.

Case in point: The tiny new E-Fan airplane from Airbus, which runs completely on electric power, might soon lead to a larger hybrid version that can take commuters on short trips.

"We have designed a completely new aircraft," says Jean Botti, the chief technical officer for Airbus. "From scratch, the E-Fan was dedicated to electric flight." Inside each wing on the carbon fiber plane, a battery pack powers a quiet electric motor. The two-seater can’t fly far--it lasts in the air for just an hour, and only flies 114 mph. But it’s an important step in designing cleaner larger planes.

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