Electric Airplanes Starting To Take To The Skies
Although electric motors were invented much earlier than the fossil fuel engines. However except for their use in electric trolleys in the late 1800’s, they didn’t get much use in the transportation industry. This was mainly because of the difficulties of having a power source that is portable that would go along with the vehicle as it moved from place to place. For the electric trolleys it worked because they were connected to the power lines that were along the streets. But the trolleys could only go as far as the existence of the power lines allowed it.
Although batteries that could power these electric motors were also invented early on, they were very expensive and bulky and also required a lot of time to get recharged. Newer and much better batteries which are much smaller and lighter and could carry more power per charge have been developed, but for practical purposes they still couldn’t beat the fossil fuels that power the petroleum powered engines even as of today. As a result, even though they are more efficient than the gas engines, electric motor use was limited to mostly static industrial use.
In the past few years newer technology and design allowed for the partial use of these electric motors on transportation vehicles, and now we have these hybrid motor vehicles that use a combination of the gas engine and electric motor. But still the batteries were heavy and expensive, and there are very few vehicles that are 100% electric powered. Recharging the batteries still took a considerable amount of time, versus a few minutes for filling up a tank of gas. Recharging stations are still very few in numbers so a long trip may not be possible. Putting these batteries on airplanes was simply not feasible.
In spite of these obstacles, many enterprising individuals came up with ideas and designs for using the electric motor on airplanes. Although these airplanes pretty much fly like the regular gas powered ones, they are still very limited on range and capacity. They are mostly just a novelty for sport and recreational use or otherwise experimental only. However they represent a big improvement in the development of electric airplanes. We should expect to see more improved 100% electric powered airplanes in the near future.
10 Electric Planes to Watch – IEEE Spectrum
Aug 2, 2013 … Solar and other all-electric planes are getting more practical.