Why build an electric airplane?

Electric power is efficient and reliable. Electric motors can be placed anywhere on the plane to improve efficiency.


No fuel, no combustion engine! It's powered 100% by a cutting-edge distributed electric propulsion system.

Propulsion Engine
Image of the Propulsion Blades

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How Does Distributed Electric Propulsion Technology Stack Up to Piston Engines?

Chart showing how distributed electric propulsion technology stacks up to piston engines.

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Electric motors are smaller, quieter, and lighter but transfer less power than combustion engines. So the X-57 has 14 electric motors instead of two piston engines!

Propulsion Engine.

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Why was the X-57 nicknamed the Maxwell?

James Clerk Maxwell, a 19th century Scottish physicist, pioneered the theory of electromagnetism, which paved the way for Einstein's theory of special relativity and Planck's formulation of quantum mechanics.

James Maxwell
Cloud-X-planes nicknames are proposed by the program team. PI Sean Clarke came up with the 'Maxwell' nickname!