Airbus Commits To E-Fan Production

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Airbus flew its E-Fan 2.0 technology demonstrator at the opening day of the Farnborough Airshow on Monday, and said it plans to have a certified version on the market by late 2017. The two-seat aircraft, aimed at the general aviation training market, would be the first certified all-electric aircraft in the world, the company said. It will have a flight duration of up to two hours. The company plans to follow that about two years later with the E-Fan 4.0, a four-seat hybrid aircraft for training and personal flying. The airplanes will be built in France by Voltair, an Airbus-owned company that will develop, build and service the airplanes.

Although the 2.0 demonstrator now flying has tandem seats, the production version will feature side-by-side seating, the company said, to appeal to the training market, and will have fixed tricycle gear. It will have two ducted-fan propellers driven by two electric motors fueled by battery packs. The 4.0 will be a hybrid with a "range-extender" internal combustion engine that can recharge the batteries on longer flights. Other companies involved as partners in the project include Diamond Aircraft and Daher-Socata. The E-Fan demonstrator flew in public for the first time in April.

The E-Fan 2.0 flies at about four minutes in.