10 Electric Planes to Watch

Solar and other all-electric planes are getting more practical

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Solar Impulse, a 1-seater solar-powered plane,completed a 5695-kilometer bunny hop across the United States on 6 July. The feat deservedly got a lot of attention, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg: Electric flying has been a reality for quite some time, and it’s never been more practical.

Aviation is a slow-moving industry, but the daring designers of electric aircraft have made a lot of progress recently. During the past two years, as a number of key technologies—batteries, controllers, motors, and materials—have neared maturity and become easier to source at more affordable prices, there has been a minor boom of sorts in the offering of electric drives for small planes.

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