The use of electric and more energy efficient cars are increasing year by year. And while their popularity is proven by several motor manufacturers and the growing demand for their battery-powered cars, NASA is eyeing the technology for something even much bigger. The scientific hub is looking into placing the practice up in the air by creating a fully electric plane.
The project is part of NASA's "New Aviation Horizons" initiative, like the experiments earlier conducted regarding airplanes traveling faster than the speed of sound. All in all, the initiative will last 10 years, and is aimed to better the use of the skies.
As reported by KTLA 5, NASA has recently unveiled the X-57, or "Maxwell." The unit is a single-seater that uses electric propulsion as opposed to inhaling fuel as it flies. Maxwell sports a total of 14 electric motors, with 7 lining each wing of the plane. NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. calls the plane a "giant step."
It is expected to run at 175 mph.
Despite Maxwell just being a prototype at this stage, NASA confirms that the plane could be ready for the runway in just four short years. In fact, the company has already flown a much smaller plane earlier, called the Greased Lightning GL-10.
According to The Verge, Maxwell is NASA's first X-plane in a decade, which means it is the first experimental plane in at least 10 years. The plane is named after Jams Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish physicist and will be built b the Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology Operations Research (Sceptor) project.
According to Bolden, "With the return of piloted X-planes to NASA's research capabilities - which is a key part of our 10-year-long New Aviation Horizons initiative - the general aviation-sized X57 will take the first step in opening a new era of aviation."