NORWAY (CBSNewYork) – Battery-powered airplanes may be the next step in greener transportation. Norway is looking to be a pioneer in the industry as the country has begun testing an electric plane for the first time.
“This is kind of the first example that we are moving fast forward,” Norway’s transport minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen told Tina Kraus of CBS News.
“We do have to make sure that it’s safe. People will not fly if they don’t trust it. But 20 years from now I think when we come to 2040 this is going to be a reality.”
A two-seat electric plane took off from Oslo Airport with two Norwegian transport officials on board. The battery-powered aircraft flew for several minutes without any exhaust polluting the air as locals looked on and snapped pictures.
Solvik-Olsen says battery prices are falling, giving plane makers like Boeing and Airbus the incentive to work on electric aircraft. The transport minister admitted that designers have to find a way to make future commercial airliners lighter, as current batteries in electric vehicles take up a lot of space and are very heavy.
“For transportation needs we need airplanes that can hold 30, 40, 100 people for the domestic use. We are seeing a development going really fast,” Solvik-Olsen added.
Norwegian officials say they’re determined to be ready to fly the first battery-powered passenger plane with 19 seats within the next seven years.
The country already leads the world when it comes to putting electric cars on its roads. They’re now hoping to make all domestic flights of less than 90 minutes battery-powered by 2040.