# Electric Four Seat

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#### rv6ejguy

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
I'd wager that the majority of folks on HBA fly their HBA less than 50 hours a year. My fuel costs at current 91 octane mogas prices comes to around $33US/ hr. with the Subaru at the usual power settings I use. My friend with his VW Q2 burns about half as much, so call that$17/hr. We are both spending many times that on just liability insurance (no hull) per flight hr due to the low utilization. We can both rebuild these engines for less than $1000 at 350 hours we'll say, call that$3hr. for engine reserve, throw in some for oil changes. Call my total costs at around $40/hr. outside of the insurance and his at$22/ hr. That's cheaper than a movie for two.

Most folks can afford this figure and with the auto engine, initial acquisition costs are low, overhaul costs are low and fuel burn is low. It would be hard to justify going electric here for either of us.

#### rv7charlie

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Very good points, Tim. I don't expect electric to replace the IC engine in my RV any time soon, but I might not be selling the Kolb if there were an easy to install electric package to replace that 2stroke I can't work up the courage to fly.

Ross, I'm all in on alt engines (putting one in the RV7), but unfortunately not everyone capable of assembling a kit is capable of doing a successful conversion. (I'm not absolutely sure that I am, yet...)

#### Vigilant1

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
There's a lot to like about the idea of electric powered flight. It dominates model flying now for all the well-known reasons: reliable, no fuss, very little vibration, less noise, better safety, simplicity, etc, etc. If/when the battery limitations (WWatt hours/lb, recharge rate, expected cycle life of battery ) and cost (system continuous HP-hours/dollar) factors change so electric is even close to an IC engine for my desired type of flying, I'll jump on board. But, that looks like a long time from now.
As someone waiting on the sidelines, I'm happy some pioneers are pushing ahead. But, I don't think they do the cause any favors with less-than-realistic depictions of what is possible right now.

#### tdrager

##### Member
Incorrect. My 172 has an O300, a 145 HP motor with climb rate of 500FPM burning 8GPH. It would cost $50K to make it "better" with a new O-360 motor conversion: - Burn 10GPH - Burn 100LL at$6/gallon. That's \$30/hour more than the current configuration
- Put lead into the environment. Terrible for kid's brains.

This goes against my rule: "Burn less every day."
I fuel my two Teslas from solar. The electric Xenos will also be powered by renewable energy.

#### Island_flyer

##### Active Member
Natural gas and renewables have both doubled in use since 2000 in the USA while coal was down around 40%.

We see how the wind power system was crippled in TX recently, the grid down for days just because of a little cold, snow and ice. Windmills don't work under those conditions when the blades are iced up and have to be braked.
I used to think wind turbines were a good way to harness wind power to generate electricity, but apparently the designers and builders of the things never expected them to be installed in places where winter might happen. In February this year in the Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas there wasn’t even any ice or snow, just temps below 32 degrees F, but hundreds of wind turbines were shut down, killing people and thousands of pets. Many towns were without power for over 3 days straight. I’ve never heard an explanation of why the machines can’t operate in cold dry air. Do the lubricants stop working? Learn from airplanes. Plenty of turboprops operate routinely in -40 degree air. Do the components shrink too much to work effectively? Why not use some of the electricity generated to keep those parts warm? To say the wind turbines are unreliable would be an understatement. People who recently moved to the area didn’t have a chance to set up their own personal backup systems, and had no idea that the grid had no backup of its own.

#### rv7charlie

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Would you like to hear the 'rest of the story' about TX & winter?
Never mind; I'm gonna tell you anyway.

As an FYI, wind turbines are installed all over the world, including the northern US, in areas where temps go well below *-*32 degrees F, and don't freeze up. The reason they froze in TX was because the TX Public (dis)Service Commission allows the utilities in TX to do just about anything they want, regardless of how it affects the citizens of TX. TX has also set up their electrical grid so that virtually the entire state is isolated electrically from all the states around it, so that the utilities don't have to comply with any Federal standards, etc. Having the utilities go down in a freeze wasn't a new thing for TX. It happened about 10 years earlier, and consumer advocacy groups begged the TX PSC to require the utilities to 'harden' their systems to withstand cold, but the utilities didn't want to spend the money and the TX PSC didn't force them to spend it.

And lest you think this is just a 'wind turbine issue', it ain't, and it wasn't last winter, either. The natural gas companies didn't freeze-proof their pumping and valving equipment (they didn't want to spend the money), just like the electric utilities didn't freeze proof their grid. Thousands of people lost their natural gas service, and natural gas fired electrical generating plants went offline, too. Again, they knew from prior experience that it would happen in cold weather, and chose not to spend the money, and the TX PSC allowed it.

Their junior Senator was the perfect example of the TX attitude: If ya got tha' money, just take the family to Cancun while your power is off, & let the po' folks fend for themselves.

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#### P.68C

##### Member
Would you like to hear the 'rest of the story' about TX & winter?
Thank you, rv7 for the explanation. If wind turbine designers hadn't considered winter, that would seem to be incompetence or negligence. Yet clearly something was wrong. I saw those stationary blades on hundreds of turbines, gleaming white in the sunny but cold blue sky. When I moved to TX (and later away again), I was surprised to learn that at least in some municipalities there were over 60 companies to choose from for hooking up electric utilities. In most places it's just one. But those dozens of companies had no direct control over, or responsibility for, the actual generation of power. It seemed like a world apart from neighboring states in that regard. And apparently it is.

#### BJC

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Just to share a data point on low tech electric powered vehicles.

We have a 21 year old golf cart that we use to run around the airpark. With a new Trojan 48 volt battery, we have a useful range of about 5 miles. It will go further, but at a slow speed, and will not make it back up the driveway.

My daughter has a more modern cart with exactly the same battery, but with newer controller and motor. Her cart is about 50% faster, and we have driven it over 20 miles in a hilly area, and still had plenty of power left to climb a really steep driveway in Georgia.

BJC

#### tspear

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Thank you, rv7 for the explanation. If wind turbine designers hadn't considered winter, that would seem to be incompetence or negligence. Yet clearly something was wrong. I saw those stationary blades on hundreds of turbines, gleaming white in the sunny but cold blue sky. When I moved to TX (and later away again), I was surprised to learn that at least in some municipalities there were over 60 companies to choose from for hooking up electric utilities. In most places it's just one. But those dozens of companies had no direct control over, or responsibility for, the actual generation of power. It seemed like a world apart from neighboring states in that regard. And apparently it is.

Texas always claimed that they stayed away from interstate connections to avid federal regulations, and higher prices (plus they get a much lower reliability).
Actually, the unregulated market in Texas now rarely is more than middle of the pack in terms of prices, from what I read. I did not check sources, but it anecdotally matches what I am seeing posted here and elsewhere.

Tim

#### rv7charlie

##### Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
And Montana (Montana Power) went from a successful state-regulated monopoly with some of the lowest rates in the country to some of the highest rates in the country, sold-off assets & bankruptcy, after the Montana legislature was convinced by Goldman-Sachs to 'deregulate' the electric industry in the state.
Montana Power history
At least they only cost the stockholders their investments; they didn't kill people in the process, like the TX utilities.

#### Bill-Higdon

##### Well-Known Member
And Montana (Montana Power) went from a successful state-regulated monopoly with some of the lowest rates in the country to some of the highest rates in the country, sold-off assets & bankruptcy, after the Montana legislature was convinced by Goldman-Sachs to 'deregulate' the electric industry in the state.
Montana Power history
At least they only cost the stockholders their investments; they didn't kill people in the process, like the TX utilities.
Along with Enron