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Transportation Power Hardware

Electric Airplane Ready For Production 239

MrSeb writes with news about a production ready electric-hybrid airplane. From the article: "... The four-passenger carbon fiber aircraft isn't really an electric plane but more of a plug-in hybrid plane, much like the Chevrolet Volt. Whatever it is, the Volta Volare aeronautics company of Portland, Oregon says the plane can travel 300 miles on battery power, then a 1.5-liter gasoline engine engages and extends the plane's range to 1,000 miles. The company sees the plane being attractive for its low cost of operation and its environmental friendliness. Aviation gasoline is typically leaded fuel, which has been gone from motor vehicle fuel since the 1980s. On a 200-mile trip in a comparable four-passenger gas-engine private plane, you'd burn $80 worth of avgas, while the electricity to carry the GT4 200 miles would cost only $20 — nice savings, but perhaps a little inconsequential when the plane itself is expected to cost around $500,000. Testing begins this spring on the Volta Volare GT4."
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Electric Airplane Ready For Production

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  • Re:Solar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jaymemaurice ( 2024752 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:36AM (#39867193)

    I'd think that depends on the weight of the solar panels... they'd have to be more efficient then the cost to carry them. And I'm sure light panels would not make this $500,000 plane any cheaper.

  • Annuals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:37AM (#39867199)

    How do they handle annual inspections? Replace the battery pack every year?

    On a 200-mile trip in a comparable four-passenger gas-engine private plane, you'd burn $80 worth of avgas

    Who cares, annual inspections for a small plane, assuming no real problems are found, are like $1500 ... every year ... and hanger rental monthly nears the cost of renting a bachelor pad apartment (which makes sense, they're about the same size...)

    The standard /. car analogy is its like making economic decisions about buying a Lamborghini primarily based on how much the windshield washer fluid is likely to cost. If you're sweating the cost of fuel, there is no way you can afford the other much larger costs of aircraft ownership. Wait until your first landing light replacement, just like a cars headlight but it costs 10 times as much (because its aviation) and is only rated at a fraction of the lifetime of a car headlight. Insurance is quite expensive too. You may find the cheapest cost of owning an aircraft... is the fuel.

  • by nickberry ( 1226494 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:50AM (#39867315)
    So, you want to fly a plane that is green, and you want to power it from electricity?! WTF is wrong with people, burning one fossil fuel instead of another is not green.... The majority of America and the world's electricity comes from the burning of fossil fuels, the difference is the energy comes across miles of wire instead of the combustion engines we currently use. Electric vehicles are not more green than combustion engines, the pollution is just offset to a different location instead of your tailpipe...
  • Re:Solar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by isopropanol ( 1936936 ) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @09:54AM (#39867371) Journal

    It probably would be more beneficial overall if some company would get a piston engine NOT based on the VW bug or a 1970's snowmobile certified for aviation use. A reduction drive is not THAT hard to engineer reliably, especially if it's required to be overhauled every 10000 hours of use.

    Consider the Yamaha Genesis series snowmobile engines.... 130HP from 1L, decent fuel consumption, takes unleaded, Dry-sump design, light weight, won't require careful monitoring of temperature/cowl flaps or mixture, just does it's job.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27