NASA has unveiled its first all-electric experimental aircraft, the X-57 Maxwell. NASA made the announcement at an aeronautics lab in the California desert. The plane will go for its first flight in 2020 at Edward Air Force Base.
The aircraft was inspired by the Italian made Tecnam P2006T, a twin-engine private aircraft. The X-57 Maxwell replaces the two internal combustion engines with 14 electric motors that will fly the plane. The plane uses specially designed Lithium-ion batteries.
NASA’s X-57 ‘Maxwell’ will be flown to validate the future scope of electric planes in the aviation industry. The goal of the X-57 is to demonstrate a 500-percent increase in high-speed cruise efficiency, zero in-flight carbon emissions, and flight that is much quieter for the community on the ground.
“We’re focusing on things that can help the whole industry, not just one company,” said Brent Cobleigh, a project manager for NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards. “Our target right now is to fly this airplane in late 2020.”