Meet the X-57 Maxwell, the all-electric plane made by NASA.
NASA revealed this week some renders of their new all-electric plane, the X-57 Maxell. The project started in 2016 and is still under development. Their plan is for the plane to have 14 electric motors. 2 larger motors on the edge of the wing and 12 smaller one’s side by side. The problem today with electric vehicles is battery density and the final range of the craft. With that in mind, they came up with a propeller configuration. With all the motors, they achieved better autonomy since the plane is only power-hungry during takeoff. This way, once in cruise, the extras motors can fold-up helping with drag.
“The X-57, which is NASA’s first piloted X-plane in two decades, is seen here in its final all-electric configuration, known as Modification IV, or Mod IV. This configuration will feature a skinny, high-aspect-ratio wing, designed to boost efficiency by reducing drag in flight, and electric cruise motors with five-foot diameter propellers on the wingtips, to recover energy that would otherwise be lost to wingtip vortices.
Meanwhile, the addition of 12 smaller high-lift motors and propellers on the wing’s leading edge will allow X-57 to be able to take off at standard speeds. These motors will activate during takeoff, spinning the propellers, and will deactivate during cruise mode, at which point the propeller blades will fold into the nacelles, as seen in two of the above images, reducing drag.
Electric aircraft present a wide array of potential benefits to aviation, including increased efficiency, reduced or eliminated in-flight carbon emissions, and flight that is quieter for communities on the ground. X-57 will help set certification standards as these electric aircraft markets begin to emerge.”
Check out some images and videos bellow.