Are electric planes possible?
These days, electric cars are pretty much the norm and are getting more and more popular every year. But do electric vehicles end up on the road, or can we take them in the air? This is where electric planes come in. But how feasible are electric planes? Are they still decades away or are engineers already working on them?
Are electric planes possible?
It is obvious that airplanes are bad news for the environment, releasing large amounts of CO2 every day. With this form of travel threatening our planet, it is natural that we ask ourselves: why can’t we produce electric airplanes?
While it may seem that transporting hundreds of people at a time is quite economical, planes are huge, and unlike a bus, they have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles. So, as you might expect, there are other considerations that need to be taken into account beyond the requirements of small electric land vehicles, but the one thing that ties them all together is the batteries.
Several airlines have considered the use of batteries in electric planes, but there remains one problem: a battery with enormous power output would be required to do so. But it is far from impossible. In fact, scientists have already started to take great strides to successfully power commercial airplanes with an interesting invention: Polymer Ionic Liquids (PILs).
A few years ago at MIT, batteries with twice the energy efficiency of traditional lithium-ion batteries were developed, using an ionic polymer liquid as the power source. This is an incredible advance, but these batteries must be lightened to adapt to air travel. After all, the weight of an aircraft is a crucial part of its flight. This is why all airlines have weight limits on baggage!
Another element to consider is the energy consumption during flights. An electric car can be recharged at a station if it runs out of power while traveling, but an airplane cannot do so during flights over water. This would make transatlantic flights difficult if the batteries on board could not power the entire trip.
So what does the progress look like so far? Has an electric plane ever taken off?
Are electric planes already under development?
In short, yes. Electric planes have already been tested in flight. And it was not at all recent. In fact, an electric plane took off in the summer of 2015. The plane was called E-Genius and could only accommodate two people. He took the pilots from Germany to Milan and flew over the French Alps on the way.
There was even a flight that took place in 2009 over the Alps, but it was solar powered and not battery powered. Of course, above the clouds, solar energy is plentiful, so solar energy makes sense. Similar flights have taken place using solar power, such as Elektra One in Germany and Solar Impulse in Japan.
European aerospace company Airbus has also attempted an electric aircraft, named E-Fan. This electric plane flew for the first time in June 2014 during a British airshow. However, Airbus canceled production of the E-Fan in 2017, when the company decided to focus more on a hybrid device rather than just electric. This gave way to E-Fan X. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the project was canceled again.
While these electric planes are certainly impressive, they can only carry a handful of passengers (usually pilots alone) and don’t fly very long distances. It is therefore important to keep in mind that large commercial aircraft will need to carry a much larger reserve of energy to carry hundreds of passengers and fly longer distances, as this is essential for commercial airlines. After all, not everyone is looking for a private jet.
Will we soon see electric commercial airplanes?
Air travel has come a very long way since the Wright brothers’ plane took to the skies in 1903. But the development of fully electric commercial aircraft could prove to be a crucial step in reducing our carbon footprint and saving our lives. planet. So when are we going to start seeing bigger electric planes developing?
Do not be afraid ; It’s happening now. EasyJet, a British airline, has teamed up with Wright Electric, a relatively new American aviation company, to develop a larger electric plane that can accommodate 180 people. It’s still not as big as traditional commercial airlines, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. The two companies hope that the craft will be available for commercial flights in the next ten years if all goes well.
So, despite past failures, airlines are still clearly focused on developing electric aircraft, and it may not be long before they see them flying commercially. What a thought!
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With constant developments in the field of electric aircraft and with the climate crisis becoming an increasingly pressing issue, we can only assume that more and more companies will continue to invest in the effort to fly environmentally friendly transportation. of the environment. Hopefully there is enough foot clearance.
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