Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

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tspear

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There will undoubtedly be some early adopters who are happy with short duration flights. But the majority of pilots won't want that. So the real question lies in when the technology will improve to the point that most pilots are willing to take the plunge. That will give the investors the return on investment they seek. The fact that people are investing money on the technology now is a sign that some think it will be soon. Others disagree, or are at least somewhat skeptical. That hardly makes them flat earth people, so I'm not sure you really know what that means.
Dig into the FAA survey data. Average flight for GA was way under an hour. I forget how long, but it is much shorter than us nuts on the forums.
So yeah, current battery tech can actually do the job for the majority of pilots. Just like EVs can handle the majority of drivers.

Will electric planes do everything I need now? No way. If I only did local pancake runs? Sure.

Tim
 

henryk

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current battery tech can actually do the job
SAFETY=

todays accus (0.2 kWh/kg) can explode as a hand-bomb ...

can we see,what will be happened iff aftertomorrow energy density close to
2 kWh/kg ?

=this little battery package (15 kg !) was exploded (BIG BANG)and burned autside of fuselage,
but close to the car...=plastic bumper +tire was burned too !!!
 

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blane.c

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Hype surrounds an awful lot of stuff and fools a lot of people, especially younger folks who haven't had decades of exposure to it and the subsequent disillusionment once they find out it was nothing more than hype. Real journalism is nearly dead; most so-called "journalists" now largely invent or vastly overstate stuff, or they omit facts crucial to a balanced approach. They get paid for writing stories that attract readers or viewers so their bosses can make advertising revenue, and the lure of money compromises most of them.
I think they are no longer journalists they are propogandists. I don't see anything wrong with a propogandist per se' but I think a propogandist masquerading as a journalist is evil.
 

Bille Floyd

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SAFETY=

todays accus (0.2 kWh/kg) can explode as a hand-bomb ...

can we see,what will be happened iff aftertomorrow energy density close to
2 kWh/kg ?

=this little battery package (15 kg !) was exploded (BIG BANG)and burned autside of fuselage,
but close to the car...=plastic bumper +tire was burned too !!!
I was Really careful, when charging my RC LIPO batterys ; but
i have had a 2200mah battery , just blow-Up, and turn into
a fire-Bomb on me ! The larger 6000mah-6S, 22v batterys, are charged
inside my fireplace ; otherwise i use a small ammo box for the small
ones.

Nope -- I don't trust current technology batterys ; I use the best
most expensive ones available.

Bille
 

dog

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Unlimited Acrobatic
Contra rotating variable pitch props powered by a pair of tandem electric motors that are reversable.Think: torque rolls from hell,hover nose down or at least appear to.
A whole host of tricks impossible for gas burner to do.
Crowds will love it.Sponsors will fund it.
People will(are?) going to build and fly them.
Young expectations will be built.
No commies nessesary.
 

atypicalguy

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Yes I guess we can all agree that no one has a crystal ball, in any area of endeavor.

Turns out cancer is actually many different diseases, even sometimes within the same person. I'd say we have a better shot at a better battery than we do at some sort of unifying cure for all disordered cell growth, of any cell type, in humans. The tools are a LOT better than they were even 20 years ago. But each type of cancer is its own set of targets for intervention. So it is really not a fair comparison.
 

Hot Wings

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Dig into the FAA survey data. Average flight for GA was way under an hour.
Does this include touch-n-go practice as individual flights?

I can't imagine taking the time to drive to the 'port, punch in the access code, have some ramp jock confront me because I don't have my ID tag showing while doing a preflight and - THEN - only flying for less than an hour that morning/evening/day.
 

BJC

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I can't imagine taking the time to drive to the 'port, punch in the access code, have some ramp jock confront me because I don't have my ID tag showing while doing a preflight and - THEN - only flying for less than an hour that morning/evening/day.
Back when I was serious about aerobatics, I frequently drove 45 minutes to the airport, flew two competition sequences, then made three full stop landings for a total flight time of about 25 minutes. The box was about 3 minutes from the airport. Put in 7.5 to 8 gallons of 100LL, put the plane away, and went home. Repeat the next day.

Granted, this was before 9-11 and the ensuing security paranoia.

Lots of people here (residential airpark) fly for 20 minutes in the evening.


BJC
 

Hot Wings

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Back when I was serious about aerobatics,
<< >>
Lots of people here (residential airpark) fly for 20 minutes in the evening.
BJC
You had a goal and a task. Very different than a simple "I think I'll fly around for a while and see what is new or interesting." kind of flight.
I imagine test flying could be a similar kind of enjoyment.
<< >>
Pops has the ideal set up - house, hangar/shop and runway all in one place.
 

Rhino

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111 Total was stated in the article. With 70 Electric. That means 41 ICE.

Tim
So 29. It's notable, but not historic by any stretch, and certainly not a market. As I've said, I'm sure the day will come, but we aren't seeing it yet.
 

Rhino

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Dig into the FAA survey data. Average flight for GA was way under an hour. I forget how long, but it is much shorter than us nuts on the forums.
So yeah, current battery tech can actually do the job for the majority of pilots. Just like EVs can handle the majority of drivers.
And yet most drivers don't drive EVs and most pilots don't buy electric planes. If a pilot flies 20 times a year at less than an hour and 10 times at over an hour he meets your criteria of average flights, but he still won't buy an EV. Aircraft don't get bought by statistics. They get bought by pilots. They can and do make their buying decisions for all of their flights, not for the average. That's also applicable to car buyers. An EV would probably be fine for 90% of my trips, but I won't buy one because I still need the other 10%.
 

Starjumper7

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Thanks for the update. Congratulations. Hopefully, it sticks.
Oil production is a very important industry in Ecuador. As the oil company is state owned, well, you know how these things can go.
I guess I made a mistake there when I said it was being sold at cost. Rather, I think it is being sold more at market value, which is very low. Since Ecuador was making a lot of it's foreign revenue from oil sales it has been a bad deal for the balance of payments, RE: loans.
 

ElectricFlyer

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An EV would probably be fine for 90% of my trips, but I won't buy one because I still need the other 10%.
It is amazing how we let 10% of our habits rule over 90% of our choices. I am right there with you on that. Put 6k$ into new Polini or go with an electric diy rig. Currently training so to hasten the solo criteria I am keeping my ICE. But than, thinking I could then go to electric after that. As new pilot want to practice more circuits so ICE is still preferable. Than once I am more comfortable I would fly up to the next airfield(30min one-way) so the Electric cant do that with enough reserve.

So approx another 5 years before the next gen of batteries come out that will allow the E-upgrade to suit my simple needs. Unless....that ICE motor, breaks down just once to often, than Electric it is. I might rather have short flights with reliability over longer flights with an oily headache.

Cheers, Patrick
 

BJC

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I like your strategy; fly now with ICE, convert to electric when the technology meets your criteria.

Those who wait may never fly.


BJC
 

Sockmonkey

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Unlimited Acrobatic
Contra rotating variable pitch props powered by a pair of tandem electric motors that are reversable.Think: torque rolls from hell,hover nose down or at least appear to.
A whole host of tricks impossible for gas burner to do.
Crowds will love it.Sponsors will fund it.
People will(are?) going to build and fly them.
Young expectations will be built.
No commies nessesary.
Yeah, that's a viable niche. If you're putting on a show for spectators, setting down every ten minutes to swap battery packs would let you match ICE and possibly turboprop performance for much lower maintenance costs.
 

Rhino

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Now if they could just get little kiosks of batteries at airports you could swap out for a nominal fee, like they do with small propane tanks or Redbox DVDs, you might be able to sway more pilots to the concept. That would however, require a standardized connection for the batteries, like USB. Ooh! A new business idea! Flybox!
 

Dan Thomas

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So approx another 5 years before the next gen of batteries come out that will allow the E-upgrade to suit my simple needs. Unless....that ICE motor, breaks down just once to often, than Electric it is. I might rather have short flights with reliability over longer flights with an oily headache.
ICE engines don't break down often at all unless they're poorly maintained. Most pilots go through a whole lifetime of flying without any failures. And when failures do occur, it's usually the pilot's fault anyway. Running out of fuel or oil, mismanagement of fuel or carb ice, various things like that. An electric airplane will still need maintenance--all those electrical connections will need monitoring, as will the instrumentation, as will the cooling systems, and if they get ignored you'll have failures just like any other airplane. Aircraft, because of the terrible consequences of a failure, need far more attention than a car, and no electric airplane will get rid of that need.

The other factor here is the cost of a new electric airplane. The supply of used ones is about zilch, so you're faced with buying a new one, which eliminates about 85% of pilots right away. What's a new one? $150K? What's a used Cessna 150 or 172 or Cherokee? From $15K to maybe $75K. For $150K one could have a nice older Bonanza or 210 or a 185. A 182 certainly. Much more utilization, and likely better resale value.

And that's market forces for you. Aviation is expensive, and new airplanes are really expensive. Many pilots drive old cars so they can fly old airplanes.
 
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