Jetmaker Unveils Electric Plane of Future

Could be ready for flight within 25 years

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011  |  Updated 11:05 AM EDT
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Jetmaker Unveils Electric Plane of Future

The plane of the future?

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An aerospace company made a big splash at the Paris Air Show, unveiling the design fo an all-electric, zero emission passenger plane of the future.

VoltAir's jet of the not-too-distant future would be made of lightweight composite material and powered by an engine athed in liquid nitrogen, according to FastCompany. The bullet-shaped aricraft's engine would be driven by a high-density battery that fits in the cargo hold and could easily be replaced with a charged one, similar to a refueling, only faster.

The technology for the VoltAir's engine is not yet available, but Germany-based designer EADS believes it is just around the corner. The technology, dubbed ZEHST for "zero emission, hypersonic airliner," could be ready to whisk passengers from Tokyo to London in two-and-a-half hours by 2050, according to GizMag.com. EADS believes the technology could be available within a more optimistic 25 years.

The VoltAir doesn't look like a typical commercial airliners: The fuselage is designed for an optimum thickness-to-length ratio in order to minimize aerodynamic drag while maximizing interior space. Rear-mounted propellers "ingest" the wake from the fuselage, while the engine-free wings remain streamlined.

"Combined with the promising developments expected in electric propulsiontechnologies, the VoltAir concept could pave the way towards ultra-quiet and emission-free flight," boasts the company's website.

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