Hybrid Electric Airliners Will Cut Emissions—and Noise

Electric propulsion will develop in the air as it did on the ground, by initially using batteries to assist a fuel-burning generator


Editor’s note: On 31 May 2018 a Magnus eFusion electric airplane equipped with a Siemens propulsion system crashed in Hungary, killing the pilot mentioned in this article, János B. (as his name has been given in the Hungarian press) and a passenger. Siemens says it is working with authorities to determine the cause. For more, see the post online at “Prototype Electric Plane Built by Siemens and Magnus Aircraft Crashes in Hungary, Killing Both on Board.”

I am sitting in the cockpit of one of the most extraordinary airplanes in the world. It’s a two-seat light plane called the eFusion, made by Magnus Aircraft, but fitted with an electric motor by Siemens, a huge company not known for aviation. I pull my feet clear of the control pedals just before the pilot turns the thing on.

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