NASA's Latest X-Plane is Electric

The X Plane: X-57 Maxwell

Source:  NASA image







Experimental High Performance Plane 
NASA has developed a fully electric 
plane, the X-57 Maxwell.  It has
twelve small motors and two
cruise motors, all on its wings.
The aircraft is experimental 
but it's performance is
outstanding.  NASA has
optimized it for high performance
cruising.  X-57 is powered
by two 400 pound lithium-ion
battery packs in the plane's
cabin.  The battery packs
contain 23 kilowatt hours of
power.  This is NASA's first
piloted X-Plane in 20 years.

Cost Saving, Green Electric Flying
The X-57 is a research platform for
NASA to develop and optimize
e-flying technology.  NASA says 
the X-57 provides a 500%
increase in high speed cruising 
efficiency.  The propulsion
system saves $165 per hour compared to
a combusion engine.  And, it
cuts the hourly operating cost of 
energy from 45% to 9%.

Test Flight
The X-57 will undergo its first
test flight within a year.
NASA is publishing its X-57
research, designs and technology 
online for industry developers to
benefit from.  At the moment, 
it won't be available for commercial
use.  The plane has only
one seat for the pilot.  The
rest of the cabin is loaded with
instruments and the battery packs.

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