| MUNICH, April 25
MUNICH, April 25 Aircraft maker Airbus Group NV
is learning from carmakers as it works on developing a
small plane powered by hybrid electric engines that could
represent its first move into the market for regional jets.
The development of a regional plane, seating between 70 and
90 people, that can take off and land using electric power could
take between 15 and 20 years, Airbus Group Chief Technology
Officer Jean Botti told reporters in Munich.
Airbus, which with Boeing Co dominates the market for
passenger jets, presently makes planes that seat more than 150
Airbus is already working on an all-electric two-seater
plane, powered by two electric motors with a combined output of
60 kilowatts, hoping this technology will serve as a step to
bringing electric motors on to larger aircraft.
The two-seater, which Airbus says is suited for short
missions such as pilot training and aerobatics, can run on its
lithium-ion polymer batteries for half an hour, with the aim to
get it up to an hour.
The batteries are tricky, Botti said. "They're causing us a
lot of headaches."
Botti, who was part of a team developing battery-powered
cars at General Motors Co more than 20 years ago, said
Airbus was looking at electric cars in order to learn from them.
Botti declined to comment on how much the group was
investing in hybrid and electric technologies.
The two-seater E-Fan will be built at Bordeaux in southwest
France and production could start at the end of 2017. Botti said
he would like to see a prototype for a regional jet in 2030.
(Writing by Victoria Bryan; Editing by David Holmes)