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Electric Airplanes Won’t Make Much of a Dent in Air Travel for Decades to Come

Reason: Batteries are nowhere near able to sustain wide-body airliners over flights measuring in the thousands of kilometers Exaggeration has become the default method for news reporting, and the possibility of commercial electric flight has been no exception, with repeated claims that these new planes will utterly change how we live. ( Altro...

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JJ Johnson 11
Until battery storage technology becomes much more efficient and much LIGHTER this will only work for very small airframes. A 777? Not so much. Better and cleaner jet Engine technology should be the focus. Electric powered large aircraft is decades away. If ever.
Joe Keifer 7
Not in my lifetime at least. Portable fusion reactors or the flux capacitor must be developed before electric passenger aircraft will ever be viable.
Mike Mohle 7
No magic bullet? I for one am shocked!
linbb 10
This is a very dead subject and to do so for anything other than very short run AC. Even that has proven not to work using a modified C208 converted the two test AC are up for sale. Ho hum is about all that can be said about this deal.
I disagree it is "a very dead subject". The industry should continue to research ways to overcome oil dependency. It can't last forever.
Ray Toews 2
That is so much bullshit. There will never be an oil shortage, wasnt 40 yrs ago will never be. You have to come up with a better reason to shut down oil, shortage or environment, both bull.
Here's a thought, how about investing in nuclear for large, static demand scenarios like powering our electric grid instead of using fossil fuels and whimsical solar/wind generation. Then reserving the high density power capabilities of fossil fuels for more demanding, mobile scenarios like aviation. And electric vehicles still have a long way to go to replace IC vehicles for all current uses. I actually don't see one in my near future until those issues are resolved.
Gary Bain 1
Yep, nukes are the ONLY answer.
w2bsa 4
Heck, cars are only beginning to be usefully electrified. It’s going to take a leap to get airplanes there. However, there is promising work going on to fuel conventionally engined airplanes with fuels that don’t produce carbon dioxide as an exhaust gas. They’re looking at hydrogen based fuels to accomplish this. I’m not saying that there aren’t problems, but, they seem to be easier to overcome.
If we keep with this current trend of mandating everything, I'd wager this will set technology back at least another decade. Let the free market WORK for the love of God!!
I have no idea where these silly thoughts come from. Probably silly politicians.
No one thinks where the "Rare Earths" are going to come from. China has the largest deposits.
Electric cars are dommed the amount of charging points will cost billions and the laying of millions of miles of copper cable and again Rare Earths is not possible.
Hydrogen is the only feasible solution. It can be stored in depleted oil fields, with no need for electric motors.
Where are they intending to send the old batteries?.
Mel. J.
I see a future for hybrids in short hop flights, like the Norwegian fjords that Wideroe flies, a combined turboprop with electric propulsion for level flights and jetfuel for take offs and as a go-around preparedness!
They're testing with a converted but pure electric plane in what i believe to be a similar environment, around Vancouver. You can read more at
Darwinian 3
Battery technology is progressing rapidly. Graphene aluminium ion batteries have been developed and are currently being commercialized that have a higher energy density than lithium ion batteries and they also charge 70 times faster and have a battery life that's 3 times longer.
Hell, I got a battery for my key fob (CR2032) and it was in a freaking CHILD PROOF case (that apparently also had a bad taste too it)...that is a fob battery. Will it be more or less dirty to dispose of a battery into a stream or a gallon of JetA into a stream?
Like with cars, initial application of electric planes (incl. fuel cells) will be very short range. The limit will climb over years, like with cars. SO my estimate is that US transcon will go to electric by 2050, transpacific by 2070.
Um, no. See, many of us live where we have what is called an "Electrical Grid". That is something that I can not depend on. I can store my own fuel, in my own tanks (as can you). For me, we will go weeks without power potentially (Hurricane area). For places like CA it can be a whim of an idiot liberal who takes out the power (may need to save a mating newt or something).

That said, I do not know a single person who has a EV that does not also have an SUV< generally a massive one with a nice trusty V8.
The future of Aviation fuels is an interesting one. Frankly, I see electrifying fuels as the natural alternative. Carbon neutral Jet-A is the only alternative to conventional Jet-A due to the reduced energy density of batteries and poor energy/vol of Hydrogen.
Um, WTF is "Carbon Neutral" Jet-A? I have read the Oxford study...the same type of marketing mumbo jumbo went into (SL)Amtrak...if more was more, why could they never get more? I mean PX, you now, to make it profitable or even a break-even...never was, never will be. Besides, so many of us are giving a shit less and less and less (I know for a fact I am not alone).
The "carbon neutral" part appears to refer only to how the Jet-A is produced. When combusted it will still release the same level of pollutant.
Cleffer 3
This is the smart alternative to look into right here. Hands down.
Joe Keifer 1
I remember the FAA's testing of AMK and what a disaster that was.
Byron May 2
All-electric replacing the 777 to cross the pond? Not for a while. But don’t count out well-supported engineers with a purpose. Of course we had not even orbited when JFK said “..before this decade is out..” and in less than ten years the Apollo 11 crew splashed down safely. And that was a while ago.
But remember technology often develops at incredible speeds (reference Moore's law).
Lithium-Air has the potential to concurrence jet fuel (12 000 Wh/kg).
And innovations on these batteries are happening quite rapidly these days. There is some potential.
It's equal to the kerosene energy density but the batteries don't get lighter during the flight though. It can be compensated by other innovations such as blended wing bodies.
you need a really long extension cord.
I don't think long haul aircraft will ever become electrified. I think electrification will go on to a point, but preexisting technology will come back into use through sustainable, zero or very low emission fuel. Which will be mass produced.
Hundreds of companies around the world are racing to build electric planes; air travel is a significant source of the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change. Beta is one of the leaders of the pack. It has already received orders for planes from customers including United Parcel Service, aka UPS.
This is just more or less click-bait to generate income and jobs for aviation journalists!
This ranks right up there with the California requirement that all long haul SEMI-RIGS be electric by 2030. It will take a tandem trailer for this. One for the battery and the other for the cargo load.
This forecast does not take into consideration the existence of the Tesla/Space x consortium. Elon Musk and his genius army will have much to do with making this happen sooner than later.


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