Rolls-Royce teams up in race for electric passenger jets

Airbus (EPA:AIR), Rolls-Royce (LON:RR) and Siemens (FRA:SIE) have teamed up to develop a hybrid electric plane as a push toward cleaner aircrafts and quieter journeys.

The project is expected to cost millions of pound and firms are currently in talks with the British government to partially fund the project.

The E-Fan X project will lead to cheaper and quieter journeys from the electric unit, which is powered by the onboard generator. The model will be based on the BAe 146 aircraft and a model is expected to be trialled by 2020.

“We decided we needed to be more ambitious because the world and technology is moving so fast,” said head of flight demonstrators at Airbus, Mark Cousins.

“The objective is to reduce environmental impact and significantly reduce fuel burn.”

The new aircrafts are also hoping to lead to the replacement of trains and allow airports to be situated closer to city centres.

“It has the potential to move mass transport from rail to air; flying might become the norm,” said Cousins.

As well as Rolls-Royce, EasyJet (LON:EZJ) said earlier this year that they plan to be using electric powered planes on short-haul flights in the next ten years. The budget airline is working with US engineering company Wright Electric to develop of electric aircrafts that can fly from London to Paris and Amsterdam.

“We share an ambition with Wright Electric for a more sustainable aviation industry,” said Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of EasyJet.

“Just as we have seen with the automotive industry, the aviation industry will be looking to electric technology to reduce our impact on the environment.”

The move is one welcomed by EU governments. As part of the Flightpath 2050 plan, the EU hopes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent and noise reduction by 75 percent.