At the European Research and Innovation Exhibition in Paris, researchers introduced the first steps towards electric aviation.
One battery-powered plane could fly at speeds of up to 400kms per hour, and at heights of up to 6,500 metres altitude – and has enough power from its rechargeable lithium batteries to stay in the air for around 45 minutes. Another plane, the Solar Impulse – powered by solar energy – is due to be unveiled this summer. The plane will have a huge wingspan – around 61 metres! The makers say it will be able to fly autonomously, night and day, and will be capable of flying right round the world, entirely powered by the sun. If all goes well, the Solar Impulse is set to make a 36 hour flight at the end of the year. So while these planes are only a first step, they are also a glimpse into the future of electric aviation.