NASA’s X-57 Maxwell is essentially an experimental aircraft designed to demonstrate technology to reduce fuel use, emissions, and noise. It’s based on a twin-engined Tecnam P2006T (conventional light aircraft with four-seats), but with distributed electric propulsion (DEP) wings, each containing electrically driven propellers. Read more for a video and additional information.
This first phase will utilize an 18-engine, truck-mounted wing, while the second installs the cruise propellers as well as motors on a standard P2006T for ground / flight testing. The third phase tests involve the high-lift DEP wing and demonstrate increased high-speed cruise efficiency. In other words, the leading-edge nacelles will be equipped, but the high-lift propellers, motors and controllers will not be installed. Last, but not least, phase four adds the DEP motors and folding propellers to demonstrate lift-augmentation.