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Airbus electric plane goes on show

An electric aircraft that could be t he future of flying will be on display at the Paris Air Show.

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is flying its E-Fan 2.0 electric protoype, which can achieve a speed of 136mph.

Weighing less than half a ton, the aircraft has lithium-ion polymer batteries in its 31ft wings as well as dual electric motors with a total power of 60 kilowatts. It can fly for one hour.

The aircraft is a two-seater and is CO2 emission-free and nearly silent in flight. Airbus plans to construct a final assembly line for the E-Fan at Pau in south-west France.

The plan is for an all-electric two-seater to enter service around the end of 2017 or early 2018. Initially, flight schools are expected to be customers for the aircraft, with a larger, four-seat E-Fan 4.0 scheduled to arrive in 2019.

The 4.0 will be offered for the general aviation market and Airbus's long-term plan is to be able to work its way to producing electric-powered regional airliners and helicopters.

The ultimate goal is a 100-seat electric aircraft, although it may be the 2050s before this dream is turned into reality.

At the Paris show, the 2.0 prototype will participate in flying displays throughout the event while, in Airbus's exhibition area, a full-scale model of the production version will be on display.

Airbus is investing 20 million euros (£14.73 million) in the overall design and development of the E-Fan 2.0.

It said: "Engineering schools and their apprenticeship programmes will have a strong involvement in the E-Fan's development and production.

"They will bring the fresh perspective and ideas of young talent that represents the aerospace industry's next generation."

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