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Hybrid And Electric Aircraft On Full Display At Paris Air Show

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This year's Paris Air Show generated huge interest in hybrid and electric aircraft, with small companies and startups vying with the aerospace giants to showcase their latest technology.

Electrically-propelled aircraft are being developed primarily for use as urban flying taxis and longer-range aircraft. The rising cost of jet fuel and efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have prompted increased investments in developing electric and hybrid aircraft.

Commercial aviation currently accounts for nearly two percent of global carbon emissions. However, that figure is set to rise as air traffic increases. Therefore, companies are investing in new electric technologies in anticipation of surge in demand.

Israeli start-up Eviation Aircraft displayed an all-electric plane at the Paris Air Show. The aircraft, called Alice, is designed to carry nine passengers for up to 650 miles on a single charge at a cruise speed of 240 knots.

The aircraft already has a customer, U.S. regional airline Cape Air, which has agreed to buy a "double-digit" number of the aircraft.

UK-based Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Siemens are working to develop another hybrid electric aircraft demonstrator, known as the E-Fan X. The aircraft, which will have a 2-megawatt electric motor, is set to fly in 2021.

In addition, Airbus is partnering with conglomerate Daher and engine maker Safran to develop the wing-mounted EcoPulse distributed hybrid-propulsion system, with a maiden flight scheduled in 2022.

Safran will provide the distributed hybrid propulsion system, while Airbus will have responsibility for the aerodynamic optimization of the distributed propulsion system and the installation of high energy density batteries.

Component and systems installation, flight testing, overall analysis and regulatory construction will be undertaken by Daher using its TBM platform.

Aerospace and defense giant United Technologies is working on Project 804, a hybrid electric turboprop aircraft. Project 804, which is expected to fly by 2022, will use a two-megawatt hybrid-electric propulsion system on a mid-sized regional turboprop.

United Technologies recently agreed to merge with defense contractor Raytheon Co.

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