China’s first domestically manufactured electric airplane successfully completed its maiden flight this week, the country’s media reported on Friday.
The AG60E plane, developed by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Corporation, took off from Jiande Qiandaohu Airport in east China’s Zhejiang Province on Wednesday. It landed at the same airport after conducting a short test flight, China Daily said, quoting the manufacturer.
The AG60E is an electrically modified version of the AG60, an all-metal, side-by-side two-seat, single-engine, light-weight aircraft. The AG60 was designed for civilian purposes such as flight training, agricultural surveys, and aerial sightseeing.
The AG60E has a total length of 6.9 meters, a wingspan of 8.6 meters, and a maximum cruising speed of 185kph, according to Xinhua. The development of an electric version of the fixed-wing aircraft contributes to a strategic emerging industry, the manufacturer told the outlet.
Instead of jet fuel, electric planes are typically fitted with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and electric motors known for their zero-carbon-emission output. Alternative power sources include solar power or a hybrid, part-electric, part-combustion engine approach.
Electric aircraft have also been developed in other countries. A prototype of the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft, built by Israel’s Eviation, completed its first journey in September 2022 in Washington.
Rolls Royce launched what it described as the world’s fastest all-electric plane in 2021. Global high-tech startup AutoFlight, which started in China and has manufacturing and test facilities in Shanghai, has been working on an electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Europe’s Airbus has also been running electric flight projects since 2010.
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