Planes in reverse

A while back I came across the electric taxi system currently being tested. The idea is that electric motors on the wheels move the airplane while on the ground, using electric power from the APU.  I think it would be cooler if it harvested power from landing and stored it – but that would probably be the world’s biggest KERS system ever and probably be a huge fire risk.  So running it off the APU is fine.

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about the stupidity of hybrid cars.  I’m generally opposed to carrying around two drivelines, it’s usually a waste of weight and adds needless complexity. I’m fine with a full electric car, and I feel we can be a lot more efficient with our gas cars- but, at least historically, it hasn’t made much sense to have two systems powering the same wheels.

Slowly, racing and high-end sports cars have been able to make good use of hybrid technology, and that’s fine – done right, it can be a good thing – but there are many, many examples of hybrid done wrong out there which keep me from being a believer just yet. The day I see diesel-electric semi-trucks is the day I’ll know hybrid has really arrived.

So how do I feel about a hybrid airliner? At the end of the day, that’s what we’re talking about here. Continue reading Planes in reverse

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