EasyJet can save 50,000 tons of CO2 annually with a hydrogen-hybrid plane

EasyJet hydrogen hybrid plane
British low-cost airline carrier EasyJet has detailed an innovative plan to build an eco-friendly hybrid airplane fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell.

Still at the embryonic stage of development, the hybrid drivetrain is built around hydrogen fuel cells located in the cargo hold. A regenerative braking system similar in concept to the one found in many hybrid and electric cars harvests the massive amount of kinetic energy generated when the plane brakes during landing and channels it to the cells. Once the aircraft comes to a full stop, the cells transfer the energy to lightweight battery packs used to power electric motors built into the wheels the next time the plane taxis. 

Ian Davies, the head of EasyJet’s engineering department, points out that four percent of the fuel used during a flight is burned during taxiing. EasyJet flights taxi for 20 minutes on average, which represents roughly four million miles a year. Consequently, fitting the hydrogen-hybrid system to every plane in the carrier’s fleet can potentially save up to 50,000 tons of CO2 annually. EasyJet would be able to substantially trim its fuel budget, a move that could reduce the cost of flying for passengers.

The technology can be retro-fitted to existing airplanes without making major modifications to the fuselage.  Additionally, it’s easier to implement for a budget carrier like EasyJet than it would be for bigger companies such as Delta Airlines and Air France.

“Because of the fact we’re a low-cost carrier, most people take hand luggage and our hulls are empty, so we have the space to do it,” explained Davies in an interview with CNN.

The hydrogen system has other, more unexpected advantages. For starters, the water vapor emitted by the hydrogen fuel cell can be used to fill the plane’s water system. Airports will be markedly quieter, and supertugs will become a thing of the past because the hydrogen-hybrid plane can drive to and from a gate under its own power.

EasyJet expects to begin testing its hydrogen technology before the end of the year, but passengers won’t ride in a hydrogen-powered plane for another few years. If everything goes according to plan, the pilot program will last anywhere between three and five years and the technology will trickle down to a production plane “in the next five to 15 years,” according to Davies.


Nikola previews $80K NZT off-road EV speedster with 590 horsepower

Nikola Motor is taking reservations for the NZT, a high-performance, all-electric off-highway vehicle (OHV). The $80,000 NZT has 590 horsepower, 775 foot-pounds of torque, and reaches 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz gives the tech-savvy 2020 CLA more power at New York Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation CLA during CES 2019, and it will expand the lineup when it unveils a midrange model named CLA 35 at the upcoming 2019 New York Auto Show.

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.

Drywall or kayaks? The 2020 Toyota Highlander is ready for your weekend plans

Toyota introduced the 2020 Highlander ahead of its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The fourth-generation Highlander is bigger than its predecessor, and it comes with more tech features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Tesla will have ‘autonomous robotaxis’ in 2020, Elon Musk says

Tesla will deploy self-driving cars in a "robotaxi" service in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said at the automaker's Autonomy Investor Day. Musk has promised autonomous Tesla electric cars before, but will he finally deliver this time?

Startup Smartcar accuses bigger rival Otonomo of stealing intellectual property

California-based startup Smartcar claims its intellectual property was stolen by a much bigger (and better-funded) rival named Otonomo. Otonomo hasn't given its side of the story yet.
Product Review

BMW’s smallest M car is its biggest performance statement

The BMW M2 Competition is frighteningly quick in a straight line, and its short wheelbase lends itself to some hilarious power slides, but it’s the curvy roads and tight tracks where this coupe comes alive.

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.

Google Maps now shows EV owners which charging stations are occupied

Google has just beefed up its Maps app with extra data to help EV owners find the nearest charging station. Drivers can also find out about the number and types of ports available, and whether they're occupied.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla taxis, NYC auto show, and Sony’s 8K TV

On the latest episode of DT Live, we discuss Tesla's autonomous taxi plans, a Face ID lawsuit against Apple,, choosing imperfect produce, the release of Mortal Kombat 11, sustainable fashion, and more.

Keep your driving record squeaky clean with these top-flight radar detectors

Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket, but these gadgets can help. Check out our picks for the best radar detectors on the market, from the likes of Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics.
Buying Guides

The best hatchbacks for 2019 are small in size and big on tech

The hatchback segment isn't huge, but there are still plenty of good options to choose from. Here, we've rounded up the best hatchbacks available in America, whether you're a fan of efficiency or looks.

WWDC 2019 Complete Coverage

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is a key tech event each year, and for Apple fans, it will be one of the two best times of 2019 (along with "new iPhone day," of course). For the last few years, Apple has debuted much of its…