Airline plans to convert its 737s to hybrid electric power

Electric planes are a great idea, but they're still a long way off from carrying any serious payloads. In the meantime, one airline wants to make their jets into Prius like hybrids, at least while they're still on the ground.

The Israeli national carrier El Al has announced plans to add electric wheel drive to 20 of its 737s, allowing them to taxi before takeoff and after landing without burning up precious fuel. A typical passenger jet burns about two gallons per minute even when taxiing on just one engine, so on a flight with no delays they can expect to save about 60 gallons.

That might not sound like a lot, but these days airlines are trying to save every penny possible, and El Al believes the system will soon pay for itself. Heck, Jet Blue could probably save thousands if they had this during one of their eight hours stuck on the tarmac specials.

El Al is still waiting for the Wheel Tug system to be certified, but hopes to have them installed by 2013.

Via Wired

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