China tests first electric plane/PC: Caixin Global
When the entire world is looking at electric cars as the next step for transportation, China has actually taken a leap and done one better. The Chinese are moving on from electric cars to electric planes.
According to the state media, China has carried out its first flight of a four-seater electric aircraft. The nation is aiming to develop battery-powered planes for short-haul transport.
The electric plane that was tested, the Chinese-made RX4E aircraft weighs 1,200 kg and has the capacity to fly 300 km in one charge. During the flight test, the plane flew from the northeastern city of Shenyang, as mentioned by Xinhua News Agency.
The aircraft is powered by a 70kWh battery. The report stated that as better batteries are developed, the flights would have longer ranges. Around 77 per cent of the electric plane is made of lightweight and corrosion-resistant carbon materials. The electric plane can be used for short trips, pilot training or tourist flights.
"The RX4E aircraft has a great market space and prospect and will be used in short-distance transport, pilot training, sightseeing, aerial photography and aerial mapping," said Zhao Tienan, Deputy Head of Liaoning General Aviation Research Institute. The institute is developing the electric aircraft.
Electric aircraft are low on noise and emissions and could become an appealing mode of transportation if they become commercially viable. Uber Technologies is also planning to start electric flying-taxi services soon. The first of it could start in Melbourne from 2023. Their electric-taxis will also be piloted in Dallas and Los Angeles.