Today’s batteries don’t have the punch to keep electrically powered aircraft flying for very long. So NASA is taking the approach of devising hybrid combustion-electric motors as a transitional technology.
source/image: Design World
Hybrid-Electric Motors concepts offer a potential path forward to more efficient aircraft by combining turbine engines with generators that distribute power to electrically driven propulsors.
Energy efficiency at cruise altitude using X-57 technology could benefit travelers by reducing flight times, fuel usage, as well as reducing overall operational costs for small aircraft by as much as 40 percent.
Typically, to get the best fuel efficiency an airplane has to fly slower than it is able. Electric propulsion essentially eliminates the penalty for cruising at higher speeds.Until recently NASA has focused its studies on larger hybrid electric-powered transports.The ultimate goal is to build a large, hybrid jet that has the potential to be sold commercially in the next decade.