NASA has approved the final concept (from three previously proposed) of the first fully electric Maxwell X-57 aircraft.
The main goal of its development is to lay the foundation for creating certification standards for future electric cars when they appear on the market. The prototype of the X-57 was a four-seat Italian light aircraft Tecnam P2006T with two Rotax 912S3 piston engines. Instead, the X-57 will have 12 electric motors with separate propellers and two large propellers at the ends of the wings.
NASA says that thanks to this configuration, air resistance in flight will decrease and the efficiency of the device will increase. Takeoff and landing will be provided by 12 small electric motors (6 on each wing). After reaching the desired height, two large propellers are launched, and the "small" blades are retracted into special nacelles to reduce drag. When landing, the "small" engines are reactivated.
It is expected that the fully finished X-57 will be able to increase flight efficiency by 500% when flying at high speed, while not clogging the surrounding atmosphere with harmful emissions and loud noise.