Airbus’ experimental electric aircraft, the “E-Fan”, has successfully completed its debut flight, demonstrating the potential for the technology to make its way into commercial airliners in the future.

The 6.67m-long E-Fan is entirely powered by electricity, which means that in comparison with jet-fuel aeroplanes it produces less noise, less pollution, and most important to the airline industry it is also cheaper to run.

The plane can reach up to 220km/h, with a cruising speed of 160km/h, which is still a long way off the speed of a Boeing 757 jumbo jet, which cruises at 858km/h, but it demonstrates the potential of the technology.

The E-Fan is powered by 120 250V Li-ion batteries stored in the wings, which offer around an hour of flying time, with a backup battery on board that can power a further 15 minutes of flight if there is an emergency.

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