The older I get the more I’m amazed by progress.
Europe’s EADS chief technology officer, Jean Botti, has announced that a new aircraft, using the “E”-Thrust hybrid propulsion concept, will enter service in 2030 as a regional aircraft.
The new aircraft—to be called the “E Airbus”— will have six electric fans. A single gas turbine engine connected to a generator will supply electricity for the fans and to recharge batteries. In descent, the fans will windmill and produce electricity.
Y’all, 2030 is over 16 years from now. How in the world can EADS think/plan that far ahead in this ever-changing industry? We’re not even sure what type of fuel will be available by then.
I can see how EADS might build such an aircraft in 16 years, but how can they be sure the concept will be competitive at that time? What if a new fuel—be it based on algae, soy beans or French-fried oil—is so cheap and efficient that nobody wants electric hybrid aircraft? What if nuclear power is the power of choice by then?
When I read of something like this, I am struck dumb with wonderment. How can any company plan ahead that far, raise the money, pay the bills, hold it all together and make a profit 16 years down the road
My hat’s off to them. I hope they succeed beyond their wildest dreams.