It is an incredible thrust in aerospace engineering. The ‘E-Fan’ electric trainer airplane developed by the AIRBUS Group as part of ‘E-aircraft’ projects. E-Fan developed by AIRBUS Group (formerly EADS) working with a consortium of European aerospace companies. Through this project EADS aimed to reduce cost of flight as well as aerospace emissions to support the aviation industry’s environmental protection goals as spelled out in the ‘Flightpath 2050’ report by the European Commission.
Built with an all-composite construction, the E-fan is 6.7 m (22 ft) long with a wingspan of 9.5 m (31 ft) having most simplest structure. The two-seat E-Fan features two electrical engines driving shrouded propellers. Total static engine thrust is about 1,5 kN, with the energy being provided by two battery packs located in the wings. It is the first electric aircraft featuring ducted fans spun by two electric motors totaling 60 kW of power. Ducting increases thrust while reducing noise, and having the fans mounted centrally provides better control and increase safety. The motors moving the fans are powered by a series of 250 Volt lithium-ion polymer batteries made by South Korean company KOKAM. The batteries are mounted in the inboard section of the wings and have enough power for one hour, and take one hour to recharge; For those worried about the “recharge” light coming on while up in the air, there’s also a backup battery onboard for emergency landings, if power runs out while airborne. Another innovation is the main landing gear. It allows electrical taxiing on the ground without the main engines and in addition provides acceleration during take-off up to a speed of 60 km/h (37 mph; 32 kn). The E-fan’s undercarriage consists of two retractable fore and aft wheels, with another two under the wings. They are powered by a 6 kW electric motor. To guarantee a simple handling of the electrically powered engines and systems, the E-Fan is equipped with an E-FADEC energy management system.
Airbus Group plans to exhibit the E-fan at ILA Berlin and the Farnborough Air Show. Airbus will further develop the E-Fan technology demonstrator and to produce and market two versions of the aircraft by a subsidiary named VoltAir called E-Fan 2.0, which will carry two passengers and the e-Fan 4.0, which will carry four. While the 2.0 will be battery powered, the 4.0 will be a hybrid for greater range.