Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

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Dan Thomas

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As near as I can tell ,all of the efforts towards a
an electric aircraft are hedging there bets because of the critical scruteny and that the teck is moving so fast that there is a danger of commiting to old and orphaned non competitive teck.
The market determines what works. If an electric aircraft manufacturer can't make an airplane that has practical range and a reasonable charging time, it isn't going to sell well. The market is always willing to buy new stuff that is an improvement. How many old flip-phones do we see people using? Or old CRT televisions? Or corded power tools? Or incandescent flashlights and carbon-cell batteries? Or desktop computers with 640K of RAM?

We don't have to worry about old, non-competitive technology. The market doesn't want it. It can't compete. So far, the current crop of electric airplanes aren't competitive. Only if governments get involved and outlaw internal-combustion engines will we see more electric vehicles, and that won't end well at all. Outlawing current useful technology does not make newer technologies any better. It's like trying repeal the laws of physics. Doesn't work.
 

Rhino

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But this is precisely what you have today in the USA, with the colossal tax breaks for the oil industry. USA subsidises its fossil fuel industry by a huge margin, so that the retail price for fuel is half that of EU, where a US gallon of 100LL averages $12.
I fully expect some iteration(s) of that to happen.

But this is precisely what you have today in the USA, with the colossal tax breaks for the oil industry. USA subsidises its fossil fuel industry by a huge margin, so that the retail price for fuel is half that of EU, where a US gallon of 100LL averages $12.
Methinks thou hast listened to partisan propaganda. The US consumed 146 billion gallons of gasoline alone in 2019. With an average price of $2.60 per gallon, that's $380 billion dollars spent. Tax subsidies for all fossil fuel exploration and development (not just gasoline) amounts to just under $3.9 billion per year. That barely exceeds 1% of the price of gas per gallon, and if you also factor in coal, natural gas, diesel, etc., it would be far less than that. So tax subsidies do not appreciably reduce the price of fuel at the pump. They encourage exploration and development of new fuel supplies, which is exactly what they were intended to do.

One could argue, the battery-electric industry is fighting with one hand tied behind its back (or, more precisely, fist-fighting against fossil fuels industry that’s fighting with a knife or a gun).
One could only argue that if one completely ignored the fact that non-fossil fuel energy sectors get bigger subsidies and tax incentive than the fossil fuel companies. Numerous stories of the visionary energy companies (and their subsequent failures) have been the source of many news stories. Does the name Solyndra ring a bell?

No one is trying to stack the deck against new energy technologies by tax incentives or subsidies. Quite the contrary (I've used that phrase a lot lately), they've done a huge amount to encourage and help them. True they've sometimes made huge mistakes by bending over too far backwards in an attempt to encourage the efforts of some less than ethical upstarts, but that doesn't mean we aren't still encouraging the sector with tax incentives, nor does it mean we shouldn't do so. But we should at least be aware of the facts, and not implicitly trust the claims of partisan sources.

Maybe we should leave the political implications and factors to a different forum, and return this one to aviation.
 

blane.c

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I am saying that despite the fact that electric (and compressed hydrogen) is not as economically viable or as energy dense as fossil fuel it is coming anyway like it or not.
 

dog

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Market already made decission :)
Awsome.
The market speaks.
Pipistrel has the jump so tricky for number two.
Teck is moving from university research to production very quickly now.
Manufactures of batteries and other high teck electronics are faced with very real problems of having production lines made obsolete very quickly,quickly enough to cause bankruptcys,
so now manufacurers are making production lines flexible enough for a refit to the next likely
inovation or iteration and stating this up front
so that customers and investors know they can adapt to a quickly changing and improving teck
sector.
There is a growing confidence in the technology and prices are falling fast.
 

Starjumper7

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But this is precisely what you have today in the USA, with the colossal tax breaks for the oil industry. USA subsidises its fossil fuel industry by a huge margin, so that the retail price for fuel is half that of EU, where a US gallon of 100LL averages $12.
In Ecuador, a gallon of regular is less than $2 and it is neither subsidized nor taxed. No stupid games like in the North.
 

Vigilant1

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In Ecuador, a gallon of regular is less than $2 and it is neither subsidized nor taxed. No stupid games like in the North.
Historically, fuel has been heavily subsidized in Ecuador for over 4 decades. In 2019, when the government threatened to end the subsidies, there were violent protests and the government backed down, agreeing to keep them. It was a big deal. More here:Ecuador Reaches Fuel Subsidy Deal To End Violent Protests

Are you saying that within the last 17 months the government has changed this 40 year old "stupid games" program (your words) and fuel prices are now entirely set by the market in Ecuador? If so, bravo on this very recent development.
 
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henryk

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electric motors.
-electric motor +ELECTRIC ENERGY...

f.e.=100 kW *h =(10 kg) +(500 kg)...

today problem is NOT motor/controller , BUT electric energy source !

PS=in 10^3 l "calm air" is accumulated 150000 J kinetic energy !
(in tornadolike vortex we can exert them !!!)

for comparation=

3000 l water flow with 10 m/s speed generate the same 150 kJ kinetic energy !

BTW= what is maximal speed of cold wind ?

=circa 1800 km/h (500 m/s !)
 
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Victor Bravo

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I can send short MP4 video of actual tornado, dancing bear, sinking ship, and chimpanzee playing piano.

Tornado, vortex oscillation, etc. have nothing to do with why battery powered aircraft will or will not have significant range.
 

Bille Floyd

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"
Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range
"
realistic, proven IC and electric motors. =???
Please calm down , henryk . Everyone here, likes to fly ; there is
no need to yell at us, just to get a point across !

Bille
 

ElectricFlyer

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Electric is here to stay and will only get better over the years to come - Trillions of $ are being poured into research for the goose that will lay the golden egg, Holy Grail..... of battery tech so you know if the big money people are in it, it will happen. We will need to stick with 30-45min flights until the next gen batteries arrive. I vaguely remember when friends in RC flying started to go into electric -- they were so happy with 5 mins of flight not having deal with crap ICE motors with15mins of flight,,, something like that.
Flat earth people can rest at ease knowing that we already know your crazy and that nothing has change for you 😂
Safe landings to all👍
 

EzyBuildWing

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So I just sketched a smooooth eCelera 500L (got rid of those ugly air-scoops 'cause it's MagniX electric ), and guess what....it looks sensationally-smooth.......it's just gotta' be the future!
500 miles, 5 pax, 300 kts, 20:1 Glide, 280 HP eMotor.
Elon, world's No 1 "Futurist" would go for it like a shot!
Try doing a few sketches yourself, and you'll see what I mean!
 

BJC

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Trillions of $ are being poured into research for the goose that will lay the golden egg, Holy Grail..... of battery tech so you know if the big money people are in it, it will happen.
A functional fusion reactor has been 30 years in the future for the past 60 years. Once there is a functional laboratory-scale reactor, a power-level reactor will be another 30 years in the future, and an operable electric power generation plant will be operable about 30 years after environmental permitting is issued. Last environmental power generation permitting that I was involved in was renewing the licensees of existing hydroelectric generating stations. Those only took 6 years.


BJC
 

Dan Thomas

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A functional fusion reactor has been 30 years in the future for the past 60 years. Once there is a functional laboratory-scale reactor, a power-level reactor will be another 30 years in the future, and an operable electric power generation plant will be operable about 30 years after environmental permitting is issued. Last environmental power generation permitting that I was involved in was renewing the licensees of existing hydroelectric generating stations. Those only took 6 years.


BJC
Yup. Exactly.

We're not quite old enough to remember the vast efforts to turn lead into gold. Some people laughed at the alchemists, but it turns out they were just using the wrong techniques. Even now it doesn't pay. Fact or Fiction?: Lead Can Be Turned into Gold

There are also trillions being poured into solar panels and wind turbines, yet the raw and inconvenient numbers show that they will never meet the current needs, never mind future needs. But people still throw money at them. Maybe someone WILL come up with a battery ten times (minimum) better than what we have now, but we have to wait and see. Making forecasts without knowing the chemistry and the roadblocks is unwise. The dishonest hype put out by the media also misleads the people. Remember the breathless Popular Mechanics articles about flying cars in every garage by 1975 or something?
 

Vigilant1

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I think it would be tremendous if electric propulsion for aircraft becomes (truly) practical. I have no emotional attachment to the IC engine and would welcome quieter, more reliable electric flight if it had costs and performance even remotely similar to IC engines. It doesn't today, and there's no reason to believe that it will any time soon.
To say that we are spending gobs of money so an answer is inevitable does not make sense. We've spent gobs on cancer research for decades and had many, many glimmers of hope. And, in fact, progress has been steady and very worthwhile. But, no single silver bullet. Billions of dollars and many decades of research to go.
 
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