Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

Bille Floyd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2019
Messages
692
I never looked at the charging stations for E-cars here in
the USA ; are those plugs standardized for all vehicles ?
 
Last edited:

tspear

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
1,172
Location
Outside Boston
Just developing a standard would take years of government bureaucratic nightmares.
Why require government? I admit that could be faster, and much more efficient than marketplace. But there is no reason why either solution is required.

Honestly... I don´t expect that we can expect "standard charging stations" of airfieds in near future.
Only practical solution is on-board charger. Than you need only acces to standard electric plug on airfield. Realistic 10-12 kW on board charger. Weight? I would say that weight of that charger can be below 15 kg (in near future 10-12 kg.... maybe bit less).

Why re-invent? Use the standards from cars, they already exist. Besides, let's just admit most battery and battery management solutions will likely be adopted from the auto world.

I never looked at the charging stations for E-cars here in
the USA ; are those plugs standardized for all vehicles ?

Europe mandated all companies agree to a standard, and all charging stations and cars support it.
In the USA we really have multiple variants.
First understand there are three types, level 1, level 2 and level 3. Level 1 is 110V A/C and really is the wild west, each auto company pretty much decides what they want to do here. Practical current is limited to roughly 13kw. Level 2 is 240V A/C with the most chargers in the 30-40amp range, and some as high as 85. Level 3 is DC fast charging. This is the quickest, also the most abusive to most batteries, and some go as high as 150kw if memory serves.
From there, you get the following plugs:
1. Proprietary, outside of Tesla: usually limited to the level 1 charger and do not see many of these anymore.
2. SAE J1772; this is shared common standard by most auto companies. Supports level 1&2 charging. To support away charging, many companies now include a charging cable/transformer which will plug into this port as the level 1 charger.
3. CHAdeMO; this is the preferred standard of most Japanese auto companies. Designed to be the "industry" standard, was largely ignored outside Japanese auto companies.
4. CCS; a more complex port which merges SAE J1772 and CHAdeMO into a single port which can deliver both A/C and D/C. Allowing many cars to charge even faster. Not as common, plus there are two variants which are not interchangeable. This is the preferred solution for US and European auto companies.
5. Tesla.

Outside of Tesla, most EV cars I have looked into include SAE J1772 and one other port. Most EV charging stations in the US I have looked into include SAE J1772 at a minimum, and one other style of port. I say this with a caveat, recently I have spotted a couple of new charging stations with only CHAdeMO and CCS.

Tim
 

John.Roo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2013
Messages
1,692
Location
Letohrad / Czech Republic
Why require government? I admit that could be faster, and much more efficient than marketplace. But there is no reason why either solution is required.



Why re-invent? Use the standards from cars, they already exist. Besides, let's just admit most battery and battery management solutions will likely be adopted from the auto world.



Europe mandated all companies agree to a standard, and all charging stations and cars support it.
In the USA we really have multiple variants.
First understand there are three types, level 1, level 2 and level 3. Level 1 is 110V A/C and really is the wild west, each auto company pretty much decides what they want to do here. Practical current is limited to roughly 13kw. Level 2 is 240V A/C with the most chargers in the 30-40amp range, and some as high as 85. Level 3 is DC fast charging. This is the quickest, also the most abusive to most batteries, and some go as high as 150kw if memory serves.
From there, you get the following plugs:
1. Proprietary, outside of Tesla: usually limited to the level 1 charger and do not see many of these anymore.
2. SAE J1772; this is shared common standard by most auto companies. Supports level 1&2 charging. To support away charging, many companies now include a charging cable/transformer which will plug into this port as the level 1 charger.
3. CHAdeMO; this is the preferred standard of most Japanese auto companies. Designed to be the "industry" standard, was largely ignored outside Japanese auto companies.
4. CCS; a more complex port which merges SAE J1772 and CHAdeMO into a single port which can deliver both A/C and D/C. Allowing many cars to charge even faster. Not as common, plus there are two variants which are not interchangeable. This is the preferred solution for US and European auto companies.
5. Tesla.

Outside of Tesla, most EV cars I have looked into include SAE J1772 and one other port. Most EV charging stations in the US I have looked into include SAE J1772 at a minimum, and one other style of port. I say this with a caveat, recently I have spotted a couple of new charging stations with only CHAdeMO and CCS.

Tim
Sorry - I try to be realistic.
Why some company would invest to build charging station on small sport airfield?
My point of view was always simple - use existing approved technology.
Are cars using mostly Li-Ion cells? Lets use same ones - that makes sense.
Do we have unified charging stations on airfields? No. And this will not in near future.
Do we have 220 V (400 V or 110 V) electric net on airfields? Yes.
It is possible to have "on board charger" with reasonable weight installed inside airplane? Yes.
It is possible to get universal charger for 220 V or for 400 V? Yes.
So from my point of view is easier to have on-board charger and use already existing electric net.
Of course we are limited by lower power, however if on airfield is available 400 V and 16 Amps than you cannot use 100 kW supercharger anyway :cool:
 

Saville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
487
Location
Boston Ma
This recharging has to be designed thoroughly. I bet a system where the stardard batteries are switched in 10 minutes is very doable. Possibly date on the batteries would matter in the charging of the charge...newer batteries would be less costly when charging and vice versa ( you could possibly get charge for free if you have to switch to older ). All batteries would be dumbed after certain amount of charges.


Ok so now you are talking 3 battery packs:

One for the windmill in case the wind doesn't blow

and 2 for the airplane.

Costs are ramping up
 

blane.c

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2015
Messages
6,075
Location
capital district NY
No...a system where there is always precharged batteries available for a swap.

I'm just saying that if I purchase new batteries and labor over them to insure they are not abused in charge/discharge there is no way I am going to exchange them for batteries of unknown abuse. The exchange thing is likely to work with rental aircraft better than with owner aircraft.
 

tspear

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
1,172
Location
Outside Boston
@John.Roo

A level 2 charger is fairly basic and cheap (220V @ 30-85 amp) and retails for anywhere from $500 to $1,500 for the device itself. They are also small, and fundamentally are only provide a few primary functions. They convert from hardwire or Nema plug to an EV specific plug, provide grounding and other safety measures, some also provide some time of use awareness for charging (and even more expensive some actually impement the ISO protocal to power the house when the grid loses power). They also wight just a couple pounds and are the size of a lunch box for the actual device. The rest is just the heavy power cable to connect to the EV.

The large level 3 fast charger DC stations you see behind EVGo/Tesla (whatever) are A/C to D/C converters, which are super heavy, expensive, and shed significant heat. None of which are good to have on a plane, plus frequent use of this kind of charging tends to reduce the longevity of the battery. These level 3 chargers are also much more expensive to build/install.

Therefore I believe a simple level 2 charger is the best solution for 95% of the owner pilots. Is is not perfect for someone traveling across the country and wanting a thirty minute turn at an airport, but it would work/handle pretty much every other use-case for owner pilots. In addition, the ISO protocol already exists to allow a single large circuit to connect to multiple charging stations and allow the chargers to handle demand management so the circuit is not blown (e.g. run a single 100amp circuit to 10 planes each with a 40amp charger, this can be self managing).

This would leave the very expensive large level 3 DC fast chargers for flight schools and other high turn environments.

Tim
 

Dan Thomas

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,053
General Aviation is a dying industry and hobby. Over on POA there's always lots of discussion on it. There are multiple factors, including the cost of airplanes and maintenance, and the lack of interest by a wide segment of the population. They don't see the fun or utility in it, they only see the dangers, thanks to the fearmongering media. The costs are partly due to the litigious society we live in, and partly due to the inflated living costs that require higher wages, the same forces that have moved so many manufacturing jobs offshore. Higher taxes haven't helped that either.

https://gama.aero/wp-content/uploads/2020ShipmentReport-05202021.pdf
In 2020 there were only 884 piston light airplanes built and sold worldwide, including twins. 142 piston helicopters. Cessna used to build far more 172s than that is a few months in the late '70s.

So, the question is this: How many companies are going to be willing to invest gazillions of bucks in swappable battery packs and charging systems for a declining industry? An industry will not recover unless airplanes get a LOT cheaper, and in light of the cost of electric cars, that doesn't seem likely.

As with physics, there are some hard financial barriers here that must be overcome. Without that, it's all just a dream.
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
15,148
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
General Aviation is a dying industry and hobby. ..... There are multiple factors, including the cost of airplanes and maintenance, and the lack of interest by a wide segment of the population. They don't see the fun or utility in it, they only see the dangers, thanks to the fearmongering media.
One factor is that most people, unlike what I just did, never have seen the sun setting in a CAVU sky from their own airplane without having had to get anyone’s permission, followed by landing on a private grass runway.

‘Nuff said.


BJC
 

John.Roo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2013
Messages
1,692
Location
Letohrad / Czech Republic
@John.Roo

A level 2 charger is fairly basic and cheap (220V @ 30-85 amp) and retails for anywhere from $500 to $1,500 for the device itself. They are also small, and fundamentally are only provide a few primary functions. They convert from hardwire or Nema plug to an EV specific plug, provide grounding and other safety measures, some also provide some time of use awareness for charging (and even more expensive some actually impement the ISO protocal to power the house when the grid loses power). They also wight just a couple pounds and are the size of a lunch box for the actual device. The rest is just the heavy power cable to connect to the EV.

The large level 3 fast charger DC stations you see behind EVGo/Tesla (whatever) are A/C to D/C converters, which are super heavy, expensive, and shed significant heat. None of which are good to have on a plane, plus frequent use of this kind of charging tends to reduce the longevity of the battery. These level 3 chargers are also much more expensive to build/install.

Therefore I believe a simple level 2 charger is the best solution for 95% of the owner pilots. Is is not perfect for someone traveling across the country and wanting a thirty minute turn at an airport, but it would work/handle pretty much every other use-case for owner pilots. In addition, the ISO protocol already exists to allow a single large circuit to connect to multiple charging stations and allow the chargers to handle demand management so the circuit is not blown (e.g. run a single 100amp circuit to 10 planes each with a 40amp charger, this can be self managing).

This would leave the very expensive large level 3 DC fast chargers for flight schools and other high turn environments.

Tim
In EU we can get max 16 Amps from "normal" 200 V socket (available everywhere). Most of aeroclub airfields had 400 V / 32 Amps. Unfortunatelly as we have to pay for installed "circuit braker size" majority of airfields changed circuit braker to 16 Amps.
My practical experience (charging on many airfields arround CR) says that 0-10 kW is OK, over 10 kW is problem (old wire installations, 10 Amps installed fuses etc.).
In year 2014 we have been using 9 x 1 kW RC model chargers in 3 big boxes transported by car :D

I personally beleive that in EU is possible to go up to 15-20 kW charging on every airfield without need of upgrade of existing electric net.
Our first charger (9 kW version) had weight of 3x 30 kg.
Second electric airplane has 10 kW charger (looks like suitcase) with weight of 20 kg.
As far I know Geiger Engineering offer 12 kW charger able to adapt power acording to available electric power with weight 12-15 kg (I don´t have tech. details).
So in this case is development going well forward 👍
I agree that fast chaging is not good for battery.
For private practical flying seems to acceptable ratio starting from 1 hour charging / 1 hour flying.
 
Last edited:

Saville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
487
Location
Boston Ma
No...a system where there is always precharged batteries available for a swap.

BBerson has it right - no way am I exchanging the $10,000 battery pack that I bought and cared for know, with one that has been exchanged and recharged by numerous pilots/facilities.

Gas is much more consistent in quality, as it comes out of a few refineries, and yet we still check for water and contaminants.
 

blane.c

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2015
Messages
6,075
Location
capital district NY
In EU we can get max 16 Amps from "normal" 200 V socket (available everywhere). Most of aeroclub airfields had 400 V / 32 Amps. Unfortunatelly as we have to pay for installed "circuit braker size" majority of airfields changed circuit braker to 16 Amps.
My practical experience (charging on many airfields arround CR) says that 0-10 kW is OK, over 10 kW is problem (old wire installations, 10 Amps installed fuses etc.).
In year 2014 we have been using 9 x 1 kW RC model chargers in 3 big boxes transported by car :D

I personally beleive that in EU is possible to go up to 15-20 kW charging on every airfield without need of upgrade of existing electric net.
Our first charger (9 kW version) had weight of 3x 30 kg.
Second electric airplane has 10 kW charger (looks like suitcase) with weight of 20 kg.
As far I know Geiger Engineering offer 12 kW charger able to adapt power acording to available electric power with weight 12-15 kg (I don´t have tech. details).
So in this case is development going well forward 👍
I agree that fast chaging is not good for battery.
For private practical flying seems to acceptable ratio starting from 1 hour charging / 1 hour flying.


All the stuff like cleaning/polishing, lubricating, tightening, fiddling with a widget, etc. can easily eat up an hour. My experience there is more time taking care of a plane than flying one. So it isn't likely you are going to be just standing around waiting for the charge to happen.
 

Saville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
487
Location
Boston Ma
All the stuff like cleaning/polishing, lubricating, tightening, fiddling with a widget, etc. can easily eat up an hour. My experience there is more time taking care of a plane than flying one. So it isn't likely you are going to be just standing around waiting for the charge to happen.

I don't do any of that cleaning, tightening, widget fiddling, etc when flying a multi-stop cross country. I check the weather hit the head, and wait for the bowser to finish topping the plane off. Then I go.
 

John.Roo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2013
Messages
1,692
Location
Letohrad / Czech Republic
It doesn't appear to go so smoothly in the electric yet, see the video above.
In 2010/2011 was practically impossible to get info about electric propulsion systems with power above 30 kW. So we made our own airframe, we designed our own electric motor and our own in-flight adjustable / feathering prop.
In 2014 (year when flight arround CR has been filmed) we used electric motor and prop from Rotex and MGM controller. But as you can see - if you do something new you can face non-expected situations ;)
Gaining experience is important and personal experience is best 👍
 
Top