Volta Volaré has begun taking orders for its four-seater GT4 hybrid private aircraft
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it calls the most technologically advanced private aircraft available anywhere on Earth. Though the GT4 is perfectly capable of taking off and flying powered only electrically, a gas engine starts when the airplane’s battery drops to 25 percent capacity in order to recharge it mid-flight. Surprisingly, perhaps, Volta Volaré makes a strong economic case for the GT4. Because the powertrain has only one moving part, the motor or EViation Drive,the company claims the need for maintenance is reduced significantly, offering increases in TBO (time between overhaul) by up to a factor of ten when compared to a combustion engine. It also claims that the EViation Drive delivers more torque and horsepower than any 20th century internal combustion engine,but since the 21st century is now at least 11 years old, that seems a somewhat arbitrary comparison. Volta Volaré says the cockpit features touchscreen glass with a synthetic vision system and optional HUD. Meanwhile passengers bored with the novelty of flying aboard a hybrid airplane can distract themselves with the pull-down screens, fold-away table-tops and various apertures available to them, including AV jacks, plug sockets, USB ports. It’s less obvious at this point what sort of interactive/entertainment system these things connect up to. A Volta Volaré GT4 will set you back a mere US$495,000. Eleven remain for purchase this year, while 36 more are slated for 2013.