Aviation is by far the safest and the fastest way to travel, however conditions are not all that rosy when the environment and aviation are kept side by side. While there are still plenty of environmentally friendly aircrafts being developed by people over the world, most of them aren’t practical enough to replace conventional aircrafts anytime soon. NASA wanted companies to predict the future of aircraft design that led engineers at Boeing to dream up something radical.
The team went on to design a concept aircraft that would actually become the Chevy Volt of airplanes when it comes into existence. Dubbed SUGAR Volt, short for Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research, the concept aircraft will be a true hybrid and combine the goodness of electric power with the performance of a conventionally fueled engine. The combination will allow the aircraft to save a considerable amount of fuel and reduce emissions in the upper layers of the atmosphere.
The idea is to charge the SUGAR Volt from the airport’s power grid when it is at the gate. The energy will be supplied to a probably large array of electric batteries stored onboard. During takeoff the plane would source power from the conventional dual-turbine engine running on traditional fuel. However, once the plane reaches cruising altitude, the system would make a switch to electrical power for the rest of the flight.
Engineers at Boeing envision that the switch to electrical power won’t only ensure a zero-emission flight but would also save up to 70 percent of the fuel normally consumed during a similar flight in a conventional aircraft. To even better its fuel saving credentials, the aircraft’s wings would be twice as long as today’s typical aircrafts to allow for greater lift and shorter takeoffs and landings. To make sure that the aircraft fits in the airport gates, the aircrafts wings would fold up after landing. Smart Planet reports that since the technology that would make such a hybrid aircraft practical is yet to be developed, the aircraft isn’t expected to see the light of the day anytime before 2030.