Electric Airplanes: If You Don’t Really Care About Getting There

The barrier to entry can be found in an energy density comparison between jet fuel-powered aircraft and those powered by batteries. Expressed in watt-hours or kilojoules per kilogram (Wh/kg), batteries today fall well short. A jet-fueled engine packs 12,000 Wh/kg. Current battery packs produce 250 Wh/kg. The differential in favour of liquid fuels is 48:1.

Energy Density Limitations

The insurmountable problem arises from the physics. People who don’t understand physical concepts such as “energy density” can be easily taken in by hucksters who work for media and public relations companies. Brighter and better informed persons who are honest with themselves will not be fooled.

For small, short range novelty craft, electric airplanes might be fun. But they are not going to replace fuel powered aircraft for serious flying. Only a huckster or an idiot will try to convince you otherwise.

Large turbofan engines powering these planes [airliners] are fueled by aviation kerosene that provides nearly 12,000 watt-hours per kilogram. In contrast, today’s best commercial Li-ion batteries deliver less than 300 Wh/kg, or 1/40th the energy density of kerosene. Even when taking into account the higher efficiency of electric motors, the effective energy densities go down to about 1/20th. That’s more than better batteries can bridge within the next decade or two.

During the past 30 years the maximum energy density of batteries has roughly tripled. Even if electrochemists should replicate that feat, providing us with 1,000 Wh/kg batteries in 2050, it would still fall far short of what’s needed to fly a wide-body plane nonstop from New York to Tokyo, something that All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, and United Airlines have been doing for years with the Boeing 777. And while kerosene-fueled planes get lighter as they travel to their destination, electric aircraft will have to carry a constant mass of batteries.

IEEE Spectrum
Fuel Cell Sustainable Long Haul Solution

I realize that Elon Musk has spoken in favor of a mythical electricity powered airplane of the future that will do away with chemical fuels for flying. We have noticed that Elon has a propensity to descend into abject hucksterism from time to time. He is allowed to do that because of the genuine success of SpaceX and the expected success of Starlink. But Musk’s idea of an electric airplane is a silly short range toy for rich men.

But besides running a fabulous space launch company, Elon can be pretty funny sometimes.

Electric cars — not usually bothered by the life or death need to land without crashing — are perpetually limited in range by needs to heat or cool the car’s interior.

Heating or air conditioning is a big deal in an electric vehicle, for two reasons: First, the total amount of energy onboard is dramatically less than what’s available in a typical gasoline car. Every bit of energy used has a more noticeable impact on range. For example, a 15-gallon gas tank holds the equivalent of 505.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy. That’s more than six times what our Model 3 carries fully charged. The second reason is that, unlike in a gasoline-fueled car, where waste heat from the engine is used to heat the cabin with little impact on efficiency, an EV’s heat or A/C is also drawing directly from the battery. Any energy used for comfort can’t be used for propulsion.

Whether you’re making your rounds through the Arctic tundra you call home or you live in Florida and consider 50 degrees Fahrenheit to be chilly, keep in mind that everything you do costs energy from your battery pack. [Car and Driver]

If this is a significant problem for electric cars, imagine how much of a problem it could become for electric aircraft! Unlike ground vehicles, flying craft cannot stop every few miles to charge up the battery.

Besides energy density issues and the heating/cooling effect on a vehicle’s range, electric vehicles have other significant problems that tend to be glossed over by “Gee Whiz!” futurists and EV hucksters. The main reason EV companies like Tesla have achieved high market valuation is because of government policies. This puts them on my bad side, automatically.

Behind the rapid growth in battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales lie a wide range of supporting policies. And behind these policies are governments that want to tap every last bit of marketing value from this highly visible climate action poster child. This is why pure BEV companies are now worth as much as the entire legacy auto industry, even though these companies (mainly Tesla) sell only about 1% of global light-duty vehicles. [10 Biggest Problems w/ EVs]

10Biggest Problems w/ EVs

The corporate media and corrupt governments tend to overlook the glaring problems with EVs and EV companies — just as modern investors do in their quest for the next big thing. But if you are serious about your freedom of the road or your freedom of the air, you will have serious second thoughts about the entire enterprise.

… it will take many years for electric cars to attain a “comfortable” range on a single charge. It would have to give someone the level of trust in the machine’s ability to cross difficult terrain, across vast distances, without becoming a very expensive forest decoration. Pun intended.

6 EV Problems Nobody Talks About

If you have an EV, you’d better stay close to civilization, and drive in mostly good weather. And if you go out and buy an electric airplane, don’t fly it over large bodies of water!

And more problems that nobody wants to talk about, because the corporate media and the corrupt government doesn’t want them talked about. Joe Biden loves electric vehicles. What a moron.

We are living in a “trendy” society, where the trends are set by people in big government, leftist foundations, and big corporations who do not have your best interest in mind. We are drifting into an Idiocracy where by the time a critical mass of people begin to comprehend the mess their “betters” have gotten them into, it is too late to fix it.

Contrary to the movie above, you do not have to wait 500 years for the Idiocracy to arrive. Go ahead and pop your popcorn and watch your future com to you.

And by the way — don’t board a transoceanic flight on any airliners that are powered by electricity. Not unless you want to take your chances on the life rafts and emergency rations aboard the plane.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood © .

This entry was posted in Electric Powered Airplane, Elon Musk, Energy, Transportation. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Electric Airplanes: If You Don’t Really Care About Getting There

  1. zhai2nan2 says:

    Indeed, don’t pin your hopes on lithium. But if you have a reliable supply of helium, I have an economical means of transport for you:

    Click to access TEMJournalAugust_1062_1067.pdf

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