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Squawks & HeadlinesInside The First Production-Ready Electric Airplane

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Inside The First Production-Ready Electric Airplane

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This spring, Volta Volare will begin testing its four-passenger GT4. Constructed around a standard airframe, the plane runs on a hybrid powertrain similar to the one in the Chevrolet Volt, with batteries plus a backup gasoline engine. An electric plane could be significantly less expensive to operate than a conventional aircraft. A 200-mile electric-powered flight in a single-engine personal plane would consume about $20 of electricity, compared with about $80 worth of aviation-grade gasoline,… (www.popsci.com) More...

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linbb
Boyd Butler 3
Since when do you take apart a power train, engine and other parts like gear box or prop on a normal annual? I never did unless there were problems, sounds a little like a snake oil deal to me trying to generate operating money. Too much fluff and not enought true facts probalby all on paper and nothing tested.
Falconus
Falconus 2
And while its true that running out of batteries in an electric airplane would "all but assure" a forced landing, I can't help but point out that running out of gas in a piston airplane probably has roughly the same results.
Wingscrubber
Wingscrubber 2
Big heavy batteries, motor, generator AND an engine with fuel for backup power = not much useful load left for people and bags?
eagle5719
eagle5719 2
At $500K this is a plane for high rollers. Do they need one that is "significantly less expensive to operate"?
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
LOL, One that I will stay away from.
Wingscrubber
Wingscrubber 2
Flying schools do.
eagle5719
eagle5719 2
For $500K, a flying school could buy 7 very nice used 172's. Besides, I wonder what the hourly rate would have to be on their new electric airplane?
Wingscrubber
Wingscrubber 2
Don't under-estimate what a school will be willing to pay for a fancy new eco-friendly airplane - (this is about the same price as a Cessna Corvalis), nor what people will be willing to pay to fly it.

Ultimately if it's a success, then reduced operating costs will result in either more profit for the flying club, or lower costs for the renter/student. (I suspect rates will be initially engineered for profit, not low cost)

The question is whether the manufacturer will be able to sell enough airplanes to justify their business model - there's an extremely high chance they will fail and be added to the long long list of defunct aircraft manufacturer startups.
eagle5719
eagle5719 1
I understand that about 80% of flight students don't get certificated, and it not because they can't learn to fly. It's because the cost of fuel and the CFI and the hourly aircraft rent will usually bust a students budget. And that's with the existing aircraft in the schools fleet. I went thru about $6500 18 years ago just for my private and about the same for my instrument. Who knows what the average total would be now. You tell a young student he has to pay the probably 400 dollars hourly rate for the electric airplane plus the other costs and he'll forget the whole thing.
captainjman
Jason Feldman 1
no no no, this suckers electrical - i just needed the nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 gigawatts!
nickpiszczek
I rid the pessimistic skeptic when in me when it came to technology and the future years ago...That said, before this concept makes me backslide...someone get us some clarity on the numbers.1) 900lb on the battery? what its useful load? 2) 400 peak and 300 continuous HP is that at the shaft even? I'm all for it...if its reality based now and is actually airborne somewhere while i type...great...but computer generated imagery,concepts, numbers, mock-ups and test stands don't bode well..can't wait to even see how the FAA's gonna wanna regulate its safety...forget the minimums when they get involved, how ya gonna pay for there paper work on the subject.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
At 500K the pay back covers a feet of 172s, 150s, 180s and the avgas they burn. Similar problems with the Chev. Volt at 40K. The fire, electrocution, chemical, etc. hazards are never mentioned in any of these green articles and are significant in my estimation. Neither are the battery replacement costs. Batteries are only good for a limited number of cycles (charges). Your cordless telephone is a good example. The replacement batteries are often over 50% of the cost of a new telephone or three. Battery disposal is another significant cost never mentioned. Some batteries, I'm told, can't be legally disposed of in the United States. What do we do with them? We haven't figured out what to do with CFL light bulbs yet. I guarantee you in the long run it will cost us to place them in a licensed facility. I have a training bulletin from a State fire department and their HAZMET folks that will open your eyes to congressional engineering. I'd be happy to post it if you'll tell me how. For now, don't allow your children to change out a CFL.
rick737
richard weiss 1
Since we generate nearly 40% of the electricity in the USA with coal, we have finally designed a coal fueled aircraft. Likewise with all the greenies that are driving around in the Chevy Volt. We could, of course power them with Natural Gas or Nuclear, but the EPA is busy shutting down that industry. Coal plants are next. Guess we better start working on the mice and rubber band technology.
horsegirl
Remonds me of an administration occupying the White house at the moment. Runs on a long cord and just goes in cirles spreading poop eveywhere.
Ill keep my 100ll, God Bless America
DunMac
Chris Laffin 1
I'd also like to add, to expensive....
747plane
Shanil Patel 1
Since when do you take apart a power train, engine and other parts like gear box or prop on a normal annual? I never did unless there were problems, sounds a little like a snake oil deal to me trying to generate operating money. Too much fluff and not enought true facts probalby all on paper and nothing tested.And while its true that running out of batteries in an electric airplane would "all but assure" a forced landing, I can't help but point out that running out of gas in a piston airplane probably has roughly the same results.
DunMac
Chris Laffin 1
Perhaps right now to some, it may sound like a screwy idea. But it's the future. What would have happened to all the great ideas of the past if everyone thought it was too stupid to try. Something has to be done, fossil fuel WILL NOT last forever.
RayBingham
Ray Bingham 1
Very interesting concept. However we know from years of experience that popsci'd ideas never quite make it. What does "production ready" really mean. It is still a concept in someones mind. Even if it is a good one it is not actually visible anywhere in the forseeable future.

HunterTS4
Toby Sharp 1
No body likes something new.....look in the past......
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Seems to me if the greenies succeed in curtailing coal and natural gas, fueling an airplane is going to be the least of our problems. EPA is already shutting down coal plants in the mid west.
dbwhite
Douglas White 1
Here comes higher landing fees if you dont by fuel. How about a 200 mile extention cord......