Boeing has invented a hybrid jetliner

Dan Seitz Contributing Writer, Tech

Here’s a fun fact to mull over: on average, airlines across the world consume 40 million gallons of fuel or so. Every freaking day. It costs the airlines nearly $50 billion a month to keep the tanks filled. While this doesn’t justify charging a thousand bucks to fly to places nobody voluntarily goes to, it does explain why Boeing is working on an aircraft that can fly on electricity.

The craft, called the SUGAR Volt, can easily be explained by a Boeing video:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz3tzG9RxKI?feature=player_embedded&w=640&h=360]

The Volt is pretty much a sky Prius. It uses jet fuel to take off, but electricity for absolutely everything else, and this actually has a bunch of side benefits as well, like extending the range the plane can fly, more than halve emissions, and require a ginormous wingspan that will reduce take-off time.

Of course, it also needs that wingspan because current battery technology isn’t up to snuff: Nobody expects the SUGAR Volt to get in the air until batteries improve substantially. The good news is that battery tech should be ready to go by 2030, and the SUGAR Volt will fly soon after.

Envisioning Tomorrow’s Aircraft [Boeing]

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