Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

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BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
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Young physicist talks about the physical limits of batteries. Second half about the Texas wind policy.
 

John.Roo

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Letohrad / Czech Republic
I am glad for this dicsussion. It is interesting to read different opinions.
True is that I am lucky as I have unique opportunity to fly with both propulsion systems.
Ideally I would have in hangar both :)
One for long cruise flights accross EU and one for most of flights. It is true that typical flight is +- 1 hour, especially if I take to the air some friends just for local site sightseeing flight.
But that is solution only for few really wealthy persons (or "crazy idealistic designers" trying to change world and building airplanes by themselves).

Is difficult to compare US and EU conditions.
In US is private flying with LSA airplanes more about distance. In EU... I need 2 hours endurance to reach every airfield in Czech Republic :) OK Germany and France are bigger...
Price of flying in US is still lower.
Prices of new LSA airplanes are +- same.
Prices of fuel are much lower in US.
And you can still buy for very low budget old Cessna 150 and fly till plane gets airworthiness certicicate :)

Price of fuel is still affordable but prices of batteries for aviation are far too high. In automotive industry you have 1 kWh for 150 USD and is going down.
In aviation you pay over 1 000 EUR for 1 kWh. That is a big difference....
So actually are electric planes more expensive that combustion versions. However this can change in future. It will only need some time.

What is most popular electric vehicle?
Is electric bicycle. It is affordable, easy to use, minimum maintennance.
You can decide what distance you typically ride and buy battery with lower or higher capacity.

And this will happend with aviation as well.
Governaments in EU and US are trying to make ICE propulsion expensive. Higher taxes, no access to some areas, limited operating hours for airports etc.
So in future you will have options. I can buy airplane for cruise flights and for 2 persons, or I can buy simple one-seater with limited performance but for much lower price. Price and operating costs will affect your decission.

In CR we had SVAZARM. That was organization financed partially by army. Nearly every town had airfield and young boys and girls could fly gliders for free. Best were going up to engine powered planes and best of bests were asked to be professional pilots, military pilots etc.
Now is flying expensive sport. Aeroclub gliding is still +-affordable, but all above is expensive. To rent UL/LSA airplane = min. 80 EUR / hour. Working student gets 5-6 EUR per hour during occasional work ("brigade").
In future will be for aeroclub electric airplane possibility to offer pilots affordable flying. Endurance 90 minutes (= 1 hour real andurance + reserve) is enough for this type of operation but plane must be accesible all time even during working days.

So again and again... there is place in the air for both propulsion systems. We all know actual limitations of electric propulsion, but to say "it will never be usefull" reminds me of "we will never replace horses", "computer never can be personall" or "we cannot travel faster than 20 mph" :)
 

BJC

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Ampair Hybrid..... Centre-line-thrust twin's front engine is electric for 50% cost savings.... looks good:

Love the footnote there:
*Disclaimer: The specifications listed are the performance targets driving our technical development and are subject to change without notice.

BJC
 

blane.c

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capital district NY
Batteries are frequently abused. Propane tanks not so much.
I remember my first professional flight, I was loaded up along with 100 100lb propane tanks into a converted C-54/DC-4 it was February and cold ... really really cold and you could see every star in the sky on the way out to Fort Yukon. When we got there one of my crew members (we could call him George) began unstrapping some propane tanks and looked at the other crewmember (we could call him Sam) and asked were is the tire? I don't recall his exact reply but obviously there wasn't a tire because of the expletive's. So about this time a gnarly looking old flatbed truck sans muffler and any form of maintenance comes roaring onto the ramp and backs up and stops about twenty feet from the cargo door. George lays a propane tank on its side and rolls it out the cargo door ... it made a resounding "wack" sound as it hit the ramp a mixture of ice covered mud and gravel that at -40 was the consistency of concrete. The flat bed truck drivers eyes got as big as sewer lids and he asked were is the tire? George replied we forgot it and rolled off another propane tank "wack" onto the ramp, after a couple more wacks the driver of the truck and the truck roared off into the night while I help George roll propane tanks out of the plane onto the ramp. I should explain also that the majority of these propane tanks had been in service since the 1940's or appeared so, and sitting much of there life outdoors the bottoms that were welded onto the tanks were mostly corroded and bent and partially missing and gnarly looking. After rolling the majority of the tanks out the plane (they were now all over the ramp) the truck came back with a tire and also Sam, I wondered were he was too. The tire was nice, you could roll the propane tanks out onto the tire sitting on the ramp and the sound was much more pleasing than before.
 

Geraldc

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nz
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,
I think this will be the future of electric cars first if manufacturers could standardize.The auto conversion of the future could be aircraft designed for auto batteries.
 

dog

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Dec 29, 2019
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One of the most interesting battery technologys bieng persued is the use of a physical structure as a battery.This has been demonstrated with carbon fibre having both
structural strength and charge capacity simultainiosly.
Airframes are of course high on the list of aplications bieng targeted.
3D printing of everything is getting closer to bieng adopted as a primary manufacturing
method.
One company is printing aluminum with some
sort of combination of extrusion and friction stiring (my guess, perhaps useing resistive heating as well),and can print large(6'),thin,tubes,and sheets of aluminum,in complex compound curved shapes.
Weight bieng the enemy, all these technologys are going to help aviation disproportionately compared to say automotive or home building.
The title of this thread uses the ever unfortunate word "never",dumb word to direct
at humans and technology.
 

ToddK

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I realize its only a matter of time till the eco terrorists make getting fuel hard to find. They already have a entire generation brainwashed into thinking the world is going to end in 10 years, they don't seem to realize that they have been saying that for at least 30 years. If that happens in my lifetime, the goal will be a small diesel that I can run off home made bio diesel. The battery tech is nowhere near good enough for anything but 30-45 min of tooling around in an ultralight.
 

ElectricFlyer

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I realize its only a matter of time till the eco terrorists make getting fuel hard to find. They already have a entire generation brainwashed into thinking the world is going to end in 10 years, they don't seem to realize that they have been saying that for at least 30 years. If that happens in my lifetime, the goal will be a small diesel that I can run off home made bio diesel. The battery tech is nowhere near good enough for anything but 30-45 min of tooling around in an ultralight.
Haver a read - E-Flyer 800 - "up to 575 miles, with 45 minutes of reserve battery charge for its motors, and an operational ceiling of 35,000 feet. The plane is projected to have a speedy ascent of up to 3,400 feet per minute, cruise at 322 mph, and reach 368 mph. Bye said that puts it among the top five fastest twin-engine turboprops. "
Cheers
 

EzyBuildWing

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Sydney NSW Australia
Celera 500L electric-version might look like this......280 HP MagniX motor? .......pretty exciting "disrupting-the-future", huh?
Try printing it out and coloring/shading it in with your crayons, then show your artwork to your spouse/friends etc and publish their reaction here in this forum!
(for the record: my girl-friend thinks it looks sensationally-futuristic and sexy and likes it 'cause it's smooth, quiet, and green electric) Celera 500L.jpg
 

rv6ejguy

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Celera 500L electric-version might look like this......280 HP MagniX motor? .......pretty exciting "disrupting-the-future", huh?
Try printing it out and coloring/shading it in with your crayons, then show your artwork to your spouse/friends etc and publish their reaction here in this forum!
(for the record: my girl-friend thinks it looks sensationally-futuristic and sexy and likes it 'cause it's smooth, quiet, and green electric) View attachment 110412
This would be pretty short on hp compared to the Red diesel.
 

Appowner

Active Member
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Mar 30, 2021
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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 !!!
And what was the chemistry of that battery? I'll guess LiPo. Now we have LiFe which are just as good and do not have the bad habits of LiPo.

I would not say batteries will never produce the range. They just don't do it now for most. But battery technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years and there's some considerable advancements being worked right now. One technology promises 10 or more times the capacity for a given weight and physical size. That would put electric cars over 1000 miles per charge with some as high as 3000 miles.

Times are changing.
 
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