Electric planes are taking off.

Not so long ago, electric car cynics made an argument along these lines: “If electric cars are so good, why aren’t there any electric planes?” Well that argument has now crashed to earth.

Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens have announced that they are planning to trial a partially electric aircraft in 2020.

The project, E-Fan X, is expected to be the forerunner of a commercial electric plane later in the next decade.

Airbus' Chief Technology Officer, Paul Eremenko, said: “The E-Fan X is an important next step in our goal of making electric flight a reality in the foreseeable future.”

Not so long ago, it was a commonly held belief that electric planes were impossible. But the Airbus, Rolls Royce, Siemens triumvirate is not alone. EasyJet is working with US start-up Wright (can’t think where they got the idea for that name from) to produce an all-electric airliner and Boeing, in conjunction with BlueJet and the startup Zunum, are working on a electric commuter aircraft.

So it seems that the future of the skies is electric, with entrepreneurs and their start-ups in the vanguard.